Brain Implant Gives Rats Infrared Sight

By R. Siva Kumar - 28 Oct '15 09:47AM

A surgery on rats to embed an electrode into their heads enabled them to get an "extra sense" and infrared vision in a surgery conducted by researchers at Duke University.

This result was arrived at based on a previous experiment by Miguel Nicolelis and Eric Thompson that also made the rats get a sense of the infrared world. All these details have been explained in a paper  published in 2013.

With this experiment, the electrodes were spaced out in the animal's sensory cortex and stimulated the brain whenever the rat inched towards a source of infrared light, according to HNGN.

Hence, rats are able to navigate their way more easily towards food and water whenever they are closer to the infrared emitters.

However, the rats did not immediately become aware of their new ability, but took a month to become familiar with it. Researchers tried to gain the real world utility of reducing major sensory deficits in humans.

Hence, the Duke experiment meant not only that the biology of an organism would be hacked in order to restore normal neurological functions, but also that "natural perceptual capabilities" in mammals and humans can be expanded.

Earlier work by Nicolelis included a brain implant that controlled an exoskeleton, which would enable paralyzed wearers to move again, New York Times  reported.

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