Scientists Create ‘Sixth Sense’ Brain Implant to Detect Infrared Light?
February 21, 2013 in Technology
“A brain implant which could allow humans to detect invisible infrared light has been developed by scientists in America. Scientists have created a “sixth sense” by creating a brain implant through which infrared light can be detected. Although the light could not be seen lab rats were able to detect it via electrodes in the part of the brain responsible for their sense of touch. Similar devices have previously been used to make up for lost capabilities, for example giving paralysed patients the ability to move a cursor around the screen with their thoughts.”
“Sensory neuroprostheses show great potential for alleviating major sensory deficits. It is not known, however, whether such devices can augment the subject’s normal perceptual range. Here we show that adult rats can learn to perceive otherwise invisible infrared light through a neuroprosthesis that couples the output of a head-mounted infrared sensor to their somatosensory cortex (S1) via intracortical microstimulation. Rats readily learn to use this new information source, and generate active exploratory strategies to discriminate among infrared signals in their environment. S1 neurons in these infrared-perceiving rats respond to both whisker deflection and intracortical microstimulation, suggesting that the infrared representation does not displace the original tactile representation. Hence, sensory cortical prostheses, in addition to restoring normal neurological functions, may serve to expand natural perceptual capabilities in mammals.”
Duke Center for Neuroengineering: NEUROPROSTHESIS GIVES RATES THE ABILITY TO “TOUCH” INFRARED LIGHT