The light spectrum between 400 and 700 nanometers is our optical home. Neither humans nor most other mammals can perceive wavelengths much higher and lower. We fix ourselves with technical optical aids like night vision goggles to make infrared light visible at night. Would it be possible to give the eyes an upgrade that would make us night watch without extra gadgets? This has worked in mice.
The rats’ brains were able to interpret the new information
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School teamed up with researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China to experiment with nanoparticles. They made tiny nanonanites, which they experimentally injected into the bloodstreams of mice. The particles reached the eyes and fixed themselves there at the photoreceptors. These receptors are used to perceive light. With newly acquired equipment, animals are suddenly able to perceive what is known as near infrared (NIR), which is usually in the invisible range to them (and to humans). The brain facilitates the processing and interpretation of information.
Nanoparticles absorb infrared light with a wavelength of 980 nm and convert it to 535 nm. Humans perceive this wavelength as green. The treatment had no side effects. In some mice, the corneas became cloudy for a few days, after a week everything was fine again. Scientists believe that this technology also works in humans, for example to treat poor eyesight and treat eye diseases.
Push towards transhumanism?
They are not talking about upgrading healthy eyes towards night vision. However, the lead researcher mentioned the possibility of “seeing all the hidden infrared and infrared information in the universe that cannot be seen with our naked eyes.” Time will tell.