Brain Implanted Technology: Revolution in Biology
Ever since the sci-fi novels and movies have been a source of inspiration and has been encouraging scientists and engineers to break the barriers of conventional thinking and go beyond what the world could comprehend. The concept of Bionic humans has been a dream of many scientists and biologists. It can be seen as opportunity for the human race to be free from any diseases, exploiting brain to its maximum capacity and even dodging death. Well, this is all a long shot but slowly we are paving our way to achieve what seems impossible. Read on to know how.
Rats have been the primary subject of study and in an experiment wherein a blind rat was implanted with a digital magnetic compass. The vision being an essential sense for any animal without which it is very difficult to know in which surrounding our body lies. Therefore, blind people have a tough time in learning their way around in new surroundings.
During the experiment, the team of neuroscientists and pharmacologists tried to explore the capabilities of geomagnetic signal in replacing the normal vision of eye. The eyes of few rats were sutured shut and used microelectrodes to plug in tiny digital compasses into the brains of the rats in order to control their visual cortices. The electrodes were used to electrical pulses to the rat’s neurons whenever their body was aligned with North-South direction.
In the T shaped maze the rats were set loose in the longer branch and the tasty treat was placed in the branch that faced east. So depending on the orientation of the maze the rats may have to turn left or right. Sighted rats could use the markers in the surroundings and were right most of the times. Whereas the implanted blind rats were able to be perfect by practise as compared to the blind rats which could only get lucky by chance.
After the T shaped maze the researchers tested the rats in an even more complex rats and the test results were favourable. Even when the signals of the digital compasses were turned off the rats were able to find their way around the complex maze. Researchers conclude that the magnetic compass helped them form a mental map of the maze.
Similar neuro prostheses could one day help blind humans to navigate the world as well. Even the senses of sighted people could be expanded giving humans the ability to see the whole spectrum of light.