We reported in January about work being done at MIT to create fibers that can transmit light, electricity and medication to the brain. A new article in MIT Technology Review has more information about these advanced neural probes.

There are many intriguing aspects to the work being done at MIT. One of the most significant is the multimodality of the probes. Transmitting light enables them to be used for optogenetic research. Delivering drugs enables them to deliver therapy to precise targets within the brain. And the electrical component of the fiber probe can both deliver an electrical stimulus and pick up electrical signals from the brain.

The near-term use for the fiber probes will be in brain research. In the longer term, I can envision this technology being incorporated into medical devices that monitor and control brain activity, and that provide targeted therapies to diseased brain tissue.