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Aug 24 2012

Dead squid can dance

Take one squid. Pin it down in a dish. Dissect out one of the peripheral nerves innervating the fin. Plug it into your iPod, and stimulate the nerve with the speaker output while playing Insane in the Membrane. Record the behavior of the chromatophores.

You have my permission, once I’m dead, to run any kind of patterned electrical signal through my nerves to see what my corpse will do. I don’t have the nice chromatophores, but maybe you could get some interesting twitches.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    Emrysmyrddin

    So. Freaking. Cool.

  2. 2
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    You have my permission, once I’m dead, to run any kind of patterned electrical signal through my nerves to see what my corpse will do.

    How about voodoo and a boombox?

  3. 3
    Bronze Dog

    Animating PZ’s corpse. I’m reminded of a standup act where the comedian was discussing the plans for his funeral. Starts out as the usual solemn affair with the casket on display, but it turns out he’s not in the casket when his corpse descends from the ceiling and is manipulated by the puppeteer in tune with the techno music and laser light show that starts playing.

  4. 4
    jaredcormier

    Sorry, the “microphone output” part made me twitch; they must be using the speaker output since the iPod doesn’t have a microphone “output”–it’s an input…

  5. 5
    ButchKitties

    I was just going to have my corpse adorned with a Santa hat and then propped up in a chair so people can sit on my lap and have their pictures taken, but this is way cooler.

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    So much cooler than Galvani’s frog legs!

  7. 7
    prae

    Words cannot describe my hatred for the GEMA and Youtube, who is willingly doing it’s bidding. I miss the days when the Web was actually World Wide.

    But now, I wonder if one could jury-rig squid skin as a display. Is it possible to control individual chromatophores or at least small patches of them?

  8. 8
    dcg1

    So kill a sentient being just to provide amusement for your followers on You Tube, So Freakin Cool.

    Almost as cool as a You Tube video showing Greg Gage with a Car Battery attached to his Gonads; Yeah way to go Greg!!.

  9. 9
    Ace of Sevens

    @8: That was my thought. I really hope they didn’t kill a squid just for this. Are ethics committees that oversee animal research supposed to make sure you don’t kill intelligent animals without a strong sciency reason?

  10. 10
    KillJoy

    Wow. Nature’s visualizer. ;)

    KJ

  11. 11
    crocswsocks

    “Preprogram your posthumous reflexes! Roll over on the autopsy table! Cross your legs! Scratch your balls! Do something, man!”

    -George Carlin

  12. 12
    Crudely Wrott

    Yeah but . . . I’ll betcha the response of the chromotaphores would have been much more engaging had the input been something by the Gershwins or perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan or Emerson, Lake and Palmer or Nat King Cole.

    Go ahead, call me a throwback (while you’re getting off my lawn).

  13. 13
    ralfmuschall

    You have my permission, once I’m dead, to run any kind of patterned electrical signal through my nerves to see what my corpse will do

    I guess technicians in the vatican are busy preparing deathbed conversion body control software right now.

  14. 14
    philtorres

    This is extraordinary. Thanks for sharing.

  15. 15
    andyo

    So much cooler than Galvani’s frog legs!

    Pfft.

  16. 16
    georgemartin

    jaredcormier @4:
    ≤i≥Sorry, the “microphone output” part made me twitch; they must be using the speaker output since the iPod doesn’t have a microphone “output”–it’s an input…

    On the YouTube page, Backyard Brains have an update on how this was done.

    Update: There are some questions as to what is happening and how this works. An iPod plays music by converting digital music to a small current that it sends to tiny magnets in the earbuds. The magnets are connected to cones that vibrate and produce sound.

    Since this is the same electrical current that neurons use to communicate, we cut off the ear buds and instead placed the wire into the fin nerve. When the iPod sends bass frequencies (<100Hz) the axons in the nerves have enough charge to fire an action potential. This will in turn cause the muscles in the chromatophores to contract.

    A better explanation as well as a few more demos can be found on our TED talk: http://on.ted.com/Gage.

    See also Jennifer Ouellette writeup on this at http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/2012/08/25/shiny-on-the-iridescence-of-squid/

    George

  17. 17
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Yay! A sciency video I can get stoned to! =D

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