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What Will Happen When You Play Music through a Squid

squid music

Image credit: Backyard Brains.10

In order to really visualize neuron action potential, bioamplifiers are designed to apply impulses for stimulation of muscle movement. To such purpose, Backyard Brains established by Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo have been selling bioamplifiers named as SpikerBoxes to allow scientists and students to explore neuroscience at-home.

It is just connect electrodes to invertebrate legs, such as those of a cockroach, and listen to the neurons. If connected with an mp3 player, the leg would dance along with the beat.

To follow the same principles of dancing cockroach legs, Gage has applied it to squid chromatophores, which are regarded to have similarities with melanocytes which contain pigments and also reflect light at the same time.

Squid chromatophores are thought to be highly reactive, because animals should alter color quickly so as to prevent them from being detected by predators. Gage isolated a squids fin nerve and surrounding chromatophore-containing muscle, and subjected it those impulses.

As a result, the chromatophore is well responsive to a heavy bass line. The longer waves of bass frequencies could charge neural membranes for longer time to achieve a better action potential.

The cells are capable of dancing along with the beat because of AC signals output by mp3 players and the current can be reversed through the neural membrane. However DC signals will fail to do so, possibly due to a single twitch of the cells, which isn’t nearly as fun.

To ensure the better effect, Gage magnified the squid cells 8x when playing “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill since he wants to stress the bass as well as its part as a neuroscience pun. Therefore, they have dubbed the video “Insane in the Chromatophores,” and it is really amazing.

In honor of Cephalopod Week, check it out:

Source: Science Friday