Researchers Give Lab Rats A ‘Sixth Sense’

In the near future, people could be augmented with the ability to feel magnetic fields, radio waves, or infrared light, reports the BBC:

US researchers have effectively given laboratory rats a “sixth sense” using an implant in their brains. An experimental device allowed the rats to “touch” infrared light – which is normally invisible to them.

The team at Duke University fitted the rats with an infrared detector wired up to microscopic electrodes that were implanted in the part of their brains that processes tactile information.

Lead author Miguel Nicolelis said this was the first time a brain-machine interface has augmented a sense in adult animals. The experiment also shows that a new sensory input can be interpreted by a region of the brain that normally does something else.

“We could [make the rats] sensitive to any physical energy,” said Prof. Nicolelis. “It could be magnetic fields, radio waves, or ultrasound.

7 Comments on "Researchers Give Lab Rats A ‘Sixth Sense’"

  1. Calypso_1 | Feb 22, 2013 at 10:24 am |

    The next opportunity I get to access to the 5th dimension, I am going to ask to see a model of the rat/human symbiosis.

    • LucidDreamR | Feb 22, 2013 at 11:55 am |

      Perhaps Douglas Adams had it right in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, and they’re just letting us think it’s US experimenting on THEM…

      • Calypso_1 | Feb 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

        Or perhaps they are the more noble & daring extension of flesh on earth having chosen a way of great sacrifice & suffering for untold future rewards that transcend the significance of their sapient comrades in meat sacks.

  2. I wonder if there will be infrared prisons in the near future.

  3. InfvoCuernos | Feb 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

    “Let’s give lab rats laser beam eyes- what could possibly go wrong” said the guy that doesn’t watch syfy channel.

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