Scientists create ‘sixth sense’ brain implant to detect infrared light

A brain implant which could allow humans to detect invisible infrared light has been developed by scientists in America. Photo: ALAMY

A brain implant which could allow humans to detect invisible infrared light has been developed by scientists in America. | Feb 15, 2013

By Nick Collins

Scientists have created a “sixth sense” by creating a brain implant through which infrared light can be detected.

Although the light could not be seen lab rats were able to detect it via electrodes in the part of the brain responsible for their sense of touch.

Similar devices have previously been used to make up for lost capabilities, for example giving paralysed patients the ability to move a cursor around the screen with their thoughts.

But the new study, by researchers from Duke University in North Carolina, is the first case in which such devices have been used to give an animal a completely new sense.

Dr Miguel Nicolelis said the advance, reported in the Nature Communications journal this week, was just a prelude to a major breakthrough on a “brain-to-brain interface” which will be announced in another paper next month.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in Boston on Sunday, he described the mystery work as something “no one has dreamed could be done”.

The second paper is being kept secret until it is published but Dr Nicolelis’s comments raise the prospect of an implant which could allow one animal’s brain to interact directly with another.

In the first study, rats wore an infrared detector on their head which was connected to electrodes in the part of their brain which governs touch.

When one of three ultraviolet light sources in their cage was switched on, the rats initially began rubbing their whiskers, indicating that they felt as if they were touching the invisible light.

After a month of training, they learned to link the new sensation with the light sources and were able to find which one was switched on with 100 per cent accuracy. A monkey has since been taught to perform the same task.

The study demonstrates that a part of the brain which is designed to process one sense can interpret other types of sensory information, researchers said.

It means that in theory, someone who is blind because of damage to their visual cortex could regain their sight using an implant in another part of the brain.

Dr Nicolelis said: “What we did here was to demonstrate that we could create a new sense in rats by allowing them to “touch” infrared light that mammals cannot detect.

“The nerves were responding to both touch and infrared light at the same time. This shows that the adult brain can acquire new capabilities that have never been experienced by the animal before.

“This suggests that, in the future, you could use prosthetic devices to restore sensory modalities that have been lost, such as vision, using a different part of the brain.”

The study is part of an international effort to build a whole-body suit which allows paralysed people to walk again using their brain to control the device’s movement.

Infrared sensing could be built into the suit to inform the person inside about where their limbs are and to help them “feel” objects.

Dr Nicolelis and his collaborators on the project hope to unveil the “exoskeleton” at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

2 responses to “Scientists create ‘sixth sense’ brain implant to detect infrared light

  1. Pingback: Scientists create ‘sixth sense’ brain implant to detect infrared light « Vine Of Life News

  2. During Badawi’s administration, I think many nepotists got into the top brass possibly. The older generals might have been sacked so that cronies and relatives rather than good strategists were placed in top positions.

    This is another reason why the military needs to be not included in voting. If they have something to gain from the military vote, militaries will end up staffed with politiclly inclined rather than skills based personell.

    Doubtless the top levels will influence those below them politically, but if the military and police do not otye, politicians will have no reason to replace uniformed personnel with politically inclined persons. This is

    where politics harms the capability of the military. There must be no politics in military and the best way to ensure this is for the military to not be involved in voting. See below link’s response to Article 15 for more on

    conflict of interest in military :

    Article 15


    The Malaysian army meanwhile should study the response to Article 1 of the below link and throw their weight behind the proposed “Technology Audit” of the Federal and State governments :


    ;where all mind affecting technologies which doubtless are being used to influence voter behaviour or dissident politics or even inculpate cult of personality politics can be prevented from being used on the military

    and the citizens in general. This form of technology is what I strongly suspect (being a ‘dissident activist’ and would be politician who detests the term limitless nepotistic and plutocratuic establishment politicians in

    Malaysia for their gerrymandering and refusal to amend laws or end apartheid – which is virtually all 222 MPs, little wonde they punched a hole in some of our heads and placed implants or what not . . . the UN still has

    not move on this? Great collusion with the psychiatric establishment? Then in that case the BRICS and Communist would be our liberators wouldn’t they? Absolute power absolutely corrupts . . . ) the cell phone

    satellite tech, is able to do now and must be prevented and removed from the citizens in general more so the politians in government.

    Worldwide Electronic Mind Control via ‘Cell Phone’ Towers By David Jones Mar 17, 2013 – 3:50:11 AM

    You guys in the military and enforcement across the world, better “Technology Audit” YOUR government because those barracks are in fact medical facilities to implant brain implant in you . . . and who is invloved?

    The term limitless nepotistic and plutocratic in government who will not amend laws . . . never ever vote for a 1%ter here on and lets tear down all brain implant manufacturers, psychiatrist poisoners and neurosurgeons

    colludint . . . humanity MUST be free in thought and that means no brain implants for anyone! Hear that military guys? We of the world would not mind any number of coups to be free of this sort of Orwellian madness

    and mind imprisonment! The 1% and plutocrat enemies of all citizens of the world must be prevented from destroying mental freedom! Soldiers and rebels ready to fight the REAL enemy? Whistleblowers among the

    2nd liner medicos, ready to end the abuse of humanity’s freedom by the 1%ters? “Technology Audit” the 1%ters and the Tech Ministries and colluding Tech Companies!!! Psychos who are near destroyed by these

    people, take our at least 1 of the above mentioned groups each when certain they are involved, your life would be well sacrificed as so many military veterans who died from these evil experiments and brain lobotomies

    and brain intrusions!

    Scientists Warn of Ethical Battle Concerning Military Mind Control

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