They call it a “Sixth Sense”, but it really isn’t.
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.
The results of the study were published in Nature Communications journal.
The researchers say that, in theory at least, a human with a damaged visual cortex might be able to regain sight through a device implanted in another part of the brain.
Lead author Miguel Nicolelis said this was the first time a brain-machine interface has augmented a sense in adult animals.
Its really not a “Sixth Sense”, just adding augmentation to existing senses. Still this is cool stuff, on the idea that it could map lost senses to parts of the brain that aren’t lost, and all that is needed is to learn the interface.
I actually was thinking about back before I used my smartphone to listen to the radio, I had a small AM radio I’d carry with me, and I could use the radio to pick up electro-magnetic interference emitted by wires, and transmitters like cellphones. I simply could HEAR where the radiation was coming from, and that was kinda cool. Same idea with these rats.