Optogenetic manipulation is widely used to selectively excite and silence neurons in laboratory experiments. Recent efforts to miniaturize the components of optogenetic systems have enabled experiments on freely moving animals, but further miniaturization is required for freely flying insects. In particular, miniaturization of high channel-count optical waveguides are needed for high-resolution interfaces. Thin flexible waveguide arrays are needed to bend light around tight turns to access small anatomical targets. We present the design of lightweight miniaturized optogentic hardware and supporting electronics for the untethered steering of dragonfly flight. The system is designed to enable autonomous flight and includes processing, guidance sensors, solar power, and light stimulators. The system will weigh less than 200mg and be worn by the dragonfly as a backpack. The flexible implant has been designed to provide stimuli around nerves through micron scale apertures of adjacent neural tissue without the use of heavy hardware. We address the challenges of lightweight optogenetics and the development of high contrast polymer waveguides for this purpose.
Joseph Register, Dennis M. Callahan, Carlos Segura, John LeBlanc, Charles Lissandrello, Parshant Kumar, Christopher Salthouse, and Jesse Wheeler, "Advances in flexible optrode hardware for use in cybernetic insects," Proc. SPIE 10352, Biosensing and Nanomedicine X, 103520I (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 07, 2017; Published: 29 August 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2273219.
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