Google Glass, virtual reality headsets, and other high-tech optics can bring illusory worlds to life. But what about the real world? Millions of people suffering from blindness would be thrilled to put on special goggles to see again or see for the first time.
Now, that is close to becoming a reality for some with sight impairments.
When young people learn about their five senses, they learn the basics: which parts of their body allow them to see, smell, taste, hear and touch. But sight for one Australian seven-year-old is much more complicated. A recent case study shows that he is the first known person to be able to see despite damage to the “seeing” part of his brain.
Not only can the boy, known as B.I., see, he can see better than many people with normal brains. He’s simply a bit near-sighted.
If you’ve ever seen your cat staring at paper or pawing at the curtains, or your dog gazing off into empty space, a new discovery explains that your pets do indeed see something you cannot.
A paper published in the biological research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B reveals that dogs, cats and many other mammals can see ultraviolet light (UV), providing evidence that cats and dogs do in fact see things that are invisible to the human eye. While some readers have speculated these animals are seeing spirits and ghosts, science reveals that this ability is not supernatural in origin, but instead rooted in biology.
Most humans can see around one million distinguishable shades, or hues, of color. That is because we have three types of photoreceptor cells, called “cones,” in the retinas of our eyes that allow us to perceive color. These three color-sensitive cones are the reason we can perceive blue, green and red hues. Thus, we are known as trichromats.
A team of biohackers from California successfully induced a temporary sense of night vision by injecting a simple chemical cocktail directly onto the eye. Incredibly, it allowed them to see over 160 feet in the dark for a brief period of time.
The group, called Science for the Masses, wanted to see if a kind of chemical chlorophyll analog — Chlorin e6 (or Ce6) — would create the expected effect. This chemical mixture is found in some deep-sea fish and is often used to treat cancer and night blindness.