Brain Compass Implant Helps Blind Rats ‘See’

April 4, 2015 7:02 AM

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According to a new study titled “Visual Cortical Prosthesis with a Geomagnetic Compass Restores Spatial Navigation in Blind Rats” and published in the journal Current Biology, a group of blind rats are now able to see. Hiroaki Norimoto and Yuji Ikegaya, researchers from the University of Tokyo, Japan applied “geomagnetic prosthetics” to several rats whose eyelids had been sealed shut in order to feed spatial information directly into rodents’ brains. Essentially, they gave sightless rats the capability of behaving as if they could see.

The prosthesis pundits, Ikegaya and Norimoto, goal was to “restore the allocentric sense of ‘blind’ adult rats by stimulating the visual cortex in the rodents’ brains. To that end, they constructed a tiny head-mounted sensor made of a digital compass connected to a microstimulator by two electrodes....

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