Space & Innovation

Wanna be a Superhero? Get Night Vision Injected in Your Eyeballs

Independent biohacker group uses light-amplifying substance to see in the dark.

More news from the Didn't See That One Coming bureau: A group of independent researchers announced this week that they've successfully induced night vision in a human test subject by injecting a liquid solution directly into the eyeball.

Science for the Masses, a biohacker group based out of California, published an open-source research document detailing the experiment. The night-vision solution included a substance called Chlorin e6 (Ce6), found in some deep-sea fish, which has light-amplifying properties and has also been used for certain cancer treatments.

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In a rather squirm-inducing description over at Science.Mic, it appears the researchers used a kind of miniaturized turkey baster to inject the Ce6 into the eyeballs of volunteer test subject Gabriel Licina, a biochemical researcher with the group. Specifically, the substance was dripped into the conjunctival sacs, which transmitted the Ce6 to Licina's retinas.

The effect kicked in within an hour and lasted for a nonspecific "many hours," giving Licina night-vision - or low-light vision, to be precise - out to a range of about 50 meters, according to the research report. To gauge the effect, Licina and a control group of four other researchers performed a series of vision tests in a dark field.

"Three forms of subjective testing were performed," the group's medical officer Jeffrey Tibbetts writes in the report, co-authored with Licina. "These consisted of symbol recognition by distance, symbol recognition on varying background colors at a static distance, and the ability to identify moving subjects in a varied background at varied distances."

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Basically, Licina was able to spot and recognize objects, symbols and people in the darkened field that others couldn't see: "The Ce6 subject consistently recognized symbols that did not seem to be visible to the controls. The Ce6 subject identified the distant figures 100 percent of the time, with the controls showing a 33 percent identification rate."

The team intends to follow up the initial test with more rigorous experiments, hopefully producing some hard numbers on the degree of light amplification achieved.

via Science.Mic

Sept. 26, 2012 --

Genetic mutations and advanced technology can give comic book characters super-human abilities. And the same holds true in real life. Sure, humans don't yet have the ability to shape-shift or walk through walls or, as is the case with Wolverine, heal in seconds from just about any injury. But there are a few other super powers that are within practical reach (and no shortage of people claiming to possess super powers). While you wait for "The Wolverine" to hit theaters, with a release date set for summer 2013, why not explore some examples of super human powers and abilities in the real world?

Mindreading Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-Men, has the ability to read minds. While no human has so far demonstrably proven this ability, we have developed technology that could read minds. This mind-reading device was developed by researchers at the University of Utah to help speechless patients form words. Words can be read directly from patients' minds by attaching microelectrode grids to the surface of the brain and learning which signals mean which words, a development that will ultimately help such patients talk again.

Magnetism He's no Magneto, but according to his father, Bogdan, a 7-year-old Serbian boy, has the ability to attract metal objects to him. In fact, his "magnetism" appears to extend to non-metal objects as well. Of course, Bogdan's magnetism hasn't yet been scientifically proven. In fact, it's most likely that he's just a little overweight and oils in his skin make him sticky.

Teleportation Azazel, one of the antagonists in "X-Men: First Class," has the ability to teleport himself and others from one place to another. In reality, we haven't come close to that level of transport ability. However, scientists have successfully teleported light and data over a stretch of 10 miles.

Flight Flying is certainly the ultimate superpower. But until a radioactive pigeon bites you, we'll all just have to rely on technology to get us airborne. Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy has taken solo flight to the extreme with his custom-designed wingsuit. Recently, Rossy even took his jetpack for a spin over the Grand Canyon. Reaching speeds of 190 miles per hour, this jetman could keep up with some of the fastest fictional fliers.

Muscle Mass You wouldn't want to see this dog when she gets angry. Wendy may look like a pitbull but is in fact a whippet with a rare genetic mutation that makes this dog more muscular. Although this dog is gifted with twice the muscle mass as average-sized whippets, Wendy has the same size heart, lungs and other organs.

Iron Man OK, Tony Stark may be from a different franchise, but his Iron Man suit has become inspiration for military and tech manufacturers testing their own brands of exoskeleton suits. These real-life iron man suits have been designed for applications as mundane as climbing up a flight of stairs and as complex as protecting a soldier on a battlefield.

Echolocation Like the superhero Daredevil, Ben Underwood "sees" with his ears rather than his eyes by employing sonar. By emitting clicking noises with the back of his tongue, Kish is able to determine the distance and a rough outline of the shape of a nearby object. This allows him to navigate without the aid of a cane or seeing eye dog. Other blind people have also developed this ability, so this technique is not unique to Kish.

Soothsaying No one person can predict the future, but a recently developed software program used in Baltimore and Philadelphia is predicting which individuals on probation or parole are most likely to murder and to be murdered. Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. are using or planning on using the program, and the software has already helped reduce the murder rate in some police districts.

Bionic Limbs Losing a limb can certainly be a traumatic experience. But there is hope with bionic technology. Part robotics, part mind-control, this mechanical hand is actually being controlled by the mind of amputee Pierpaolo Petruzziello.