This technology employs biocompatible anisotropic magnetite magnetic nanodiscs (MNDs) that, when exposed to low-magnitude magnetic fields, induce changes in cellular membrane tension to activate ion channels. When the MNDs are incubated with cells such as dorsal root ganglia explants, they form an interface with the surface of cell membranes. When a low-frequency, low-amplitude magnetic field is then applied to the cell culture, the MNDs transduce the magnetic field into magnetic force. The magnetic force exerted from the MNDs creates membrane tension via torque and is sufficient to activate mechanosensitive channels such as calcium channels. Thus, this technology achieves the precise modulation of calcium flux in neurons and other mechanosensory cells in a minimally invasive manner without the use of transgenes.