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Published:February 15th, 2013 13:31 EST

Scientists Give Rats a New Sense: Infrared Light

By John Pustelnik


Scientists have successfully given rats the ability to sense infrared light, an ability they otherwise did not have.

This new sense was achieved by planting electrodes into the rats brain that is associated with touch.


The new ability to sense infrared light did not interfere with the original abilities normally associated with the part of the brain that was stimulated.

Not only can the rats sense infrared light, but they can also potentially sense a variety of other energies, including magnetic fields and radio waves.

"We could create devices sensitive to any physical energy," said Miguel Nicolelis, professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. "We chose infrared initially because it didn`t interfere with our electrophysiological recordings."

The researchers suggest that this breakthrough may lead to giving sight to blind people, as long as the source of their blindness is not in their eyes, but their visual cortex of their brain.

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