Introducing FlyMAD


FlyMAD (Fly Mind Altering Device) is a system for targeting freely walking flies (Drosophila) with lasers. By steering the optical path of the laser using large diameter mirrors, it also enables simultaneous imaging of the target region. This enables through-the-mirrors (TTM) targeting of specific body parts. Together, all this allows rapid thermo- and opto- genetic manipulation of the fly nervous system.

The work is published in:

Bath DE✱, Stowers JR✱, Hörmann D, Poehlmann A, Dickson BJ, Straw AD (✱ equal contribution) (2014) FlyMAD: Rapid thermogenetic control of neuronal activity in freely-walking Drosophila. Nature Methods. doi 10.1038/nmeth.2973

Video overview

See our video. This is a slightly modified version of Supplementary Video S1.


An installer for FlyMAD is available here. This requires Ubuntu 12.04 amd64.

Get help

Please address all enquires to the FlyMAD email list.

Developer access

FlyMAD is open source. Access our repository on github.


FlyMAD was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada by a postgraduate scholarship to Daniel Bath, ERC Starting Grant 281884 and WWTF grant CS2011-029 to Andrew Straw, ERC Advanced Grant 233306 to Barry Dickson and IMP core funding.