Healthcare and Technology: a Blinding force.
An experiment using blind rats hooked to a compass yields fantastic results, not just for the rats who manage to navigate to their food.
What brings the team at Bioscint together is our mutual love towards technology and the endless possibilities it has to facilitate our day-to-day activities, especially when we need that little extra help. When healthcare and technology combine, it truly is a sight to behold.
In Japan a successful experiment saw the utilisation of compasses hooked up to blind rats’ brains to help them navigate through a maze. The rats managed to make their way, nearly as well as the seeing rats did. Quite obviously, this opens up an infinite amount of opportunities, whereby similar neuroprosthesis could facilitate blind people’s ability to make their way around obstacles. The land of the rising sun indeed.
In simple terms, these scientists managed to stimulate the left and right side of the rats’ visual cortex when they faced north and south respectively. After a while, the rats’ brains got used to this new “sense” and successfully made their way to their food. Similarly, our brain is extremely flexible, capable of taking on stimulants and integrating them in our life as normally as if we were born with them.
For the present, it has been suggested that the blind man’s stick could have geomagnetic sensors, not much different from the compasses hooked to the rats’ brains, to help blind people navigate. However, with further studies, these findings could be adopted to expand our senses and detect things as yet unheard or unfelt – such as magnetic fields.
Guess we won’t be needing Kryptonite to acquire superhuman powers after all..
Source: IEEE Spectrum http://goo.gl/AZrxGW