My latest article in Wired, “Powered by Photons”

Wired’s just published my latest article, Powered by Photons, in its November 2009 issue. This article is about the emerging technology of optogenetics, which allows neuroscientists to stimulate genetically altered neurons in the brain by cell type. It’s a much more precise technology than electricity, and it can be used both to detect and control neural activity. It opens up, for the first time, the possibility of two-way prosthetic devices where the brain both sends information to, and gets information from, the artificial body part. I visted Stanford and MIT to research this story, and it’s fascinating stuff.

In other news, my book on brain implants grows apace: 66,000 words and counting. It’s due out in October 2010.


  1. Hey Michael, long time no see. I hope everything is going well for you. Keep up the wonderful work.

  2. Hi Michael, LOVED the article. It’s not everyday that I get totally floored by something so out of left field; the idea of intervening in brain function by shooting light down a fiber at a nerve cell really surprised me. I sent my magazine copy to a brain surgeon friend of mine, and he was just as pleasantly shocked and amazed. Keep up with the great work!



  3. Thanks, Mark! I really appreciate your good words. The article took six months to write, so I’m glad to know it resonated with you. It makes my day when I can impress a brain surgeon.

  4. Michael, thanks for publishing beyond the trade journals. A bit of a philosopher, entrepreneur, and futurist myself, I can tell you their are quite a few of us who can’t wait to read your book. 🙂

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