Lab rats with brain implants sense invisible infrared light

Duke University researchers implanted lab rats with a device enabling them to perceive invisible infrared light. Miguel Nicolelis and his colleagues jacked a head-mounted infrared sensor into the rat's brain. It's wired into a region of the brain that processes touch, providing the rodents with a "sixth sense" for infrared. They published their research in the science journal Nature Communications. The possibilities aren't limited to infrared spectrum either. "We could create devices sensitive to any physical energy," Nicolelis says. "It could be magnetic fields, radio waves, or ultrasound. We chose infrared initially because it didn't interfere with our electrophysiological recordings." The technology could someday lead to improved neuroprosthetics to help blind people see.

"Neuroprosthesis Gives Rats the Ability to 'Touch' Infrared Light" (Nicolelis Lab)

"Lab rats 'acquire sixth sense'" (BBC News)