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Researchers Bring Sense Of Infrared Sight To Rats

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 1:46pm
Gene Ostrovsky

Extra-sensory systems for the blind have the potential to replace eyes with another sense, and some have been built that essentially turn video into sound or tactile sensation. Now researchers at Duke University Medical Center are reporting in Nature Communications that they were able to create a system that combines an infrared camera and a brain implant to let rats sense infrared light, which they otherwise don’t perceive.

An implanted intracortical microstimulation neuroprostheses placed onto the somatosensory cortex of rat brains were hooked up to little infrared cameras on their heads. Whenever the camera would see infrared light, the prostheses were activated. Not long after getting used to their new gear, the rats were able to find food by looking for a bin that had an infrared light go on.

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