February 19, 2013
Superhuman Vision Experiments
Researchers at the Nicolelis Lab attached a head-mounted infrared (IR) sensor to rats and connected it to the whisker area of the brain (somatosensory cortex), using electrical microstimulation.
The rats were able to distinguish between the whisker and IR senses going to the same area without any problems
the researchers note that, in principle, this any novel stimulus (for example, magnetic or radio waves) could be used, instead of infrared light.
Sample trials from a session with “blank” trials interleaved. On random trials the IR light is activated, but is uncoupled from the (somatosensory cortex stimulation. Trial types (“stim” versus “no-stim” trials) are indicated before each trial.
Based on an article in Nature Magazine