This video is a bit old, but it was just brought to my attention and I felt that it was worth a share. It certainly held my attention for a bit and that’s special. Basically what happened is that the folks at Backyard Brains hooked up an iPod to a squid and captured what the pigmented cells of the squid’s fin went through. The music was Cypress Hill, so make your own connections. From Backyard Brains:
We used a suction electrode to attach to the squid’s fin nerve, then connected the electrode to an iPod nano as our stimulator. The results were both interesting and beautiful. The video below is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the fin…
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.
Now I would recommend heading over to their blog to check out their other experiments and reading up on this one a bit more. It’s also interesting to see the one that preceded this one, involving a cockroach leg and some Frankestein-like science.
My only complaint is that they didn’t run this version of the song through the squid. It’s got that best of both worlds vibe that you just can’t get from the original.
(Via Backyard Brains)