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December 01, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 21)

Optogenetics Pro

  • Includes many parameters, pro version includes complete brain atlas
  • Methods for generating plots not given
Platform: iPad/iPhone  
Cost: $1.99

Optogenetics is a recently developed (and commonly employed) experimental tool in neuroscience research that allows researchers to either activate or inhibit populations of cells through the delivery of light to those cells. Of course, the efficiency with which one can activate/inhibit the target cells depends on a number of factors related to the delivery of light, such as the diameter of the optical fiber and the power of the light being applied. The success of the procedure also depends on which light-activatable proteins are being employed and which region of the brain is being targeted. Using the Optogenetics Pro app (and to a more limited extent, the free version of the app), researchers can explore the relationship between the aforementioned experimental parameters and the resulting penetration depth of illumination. Users specify the various parameters listed above, and the app generates a plot of optical power at the fiber tip versus the penetration depth of illumination. This can facilitate the design and implementation of optogenetics experiments.

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