Scientists and researchers are always trying to come up with ways to make our lives easier, but it seems as if recently, these theories and advances have come straight from ‘Harry Potter’ or the ‘Six Billion Dollar Man’. Is it me or is there someone out there who got word of my Lee Majors fantasy? Here’s a look at some tests and advances that can possibly turn science fiction into science reality.
First Bionic Eye Created
Scientists at Second Sight Medical Products have developed the first bionic eye. It’s called the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System and it was developed for people with a rare genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa.
People who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa do not have functioning photoreceptors. Therefore, the bionic eye acts as a photoreceptor utilizing 60 electrodes and a mini-camera.
Many companies have been developing bionic eyes to help treat people with visual impairments. People who have been utilizing the eye had various results. Some people have been able to see light flashes while others can fully see in color.
Currently, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System costs around $99,120 and the FDA is expected to approve this innovation. However, there has been no indication that having a bionic eye would result in automatic employment as a secret agent with the OSI.
The Possibility of Turning Invisible
Did you ever make a bad joke and wish you could hide? Do you still wonder if a girl’s locker room looks different from a boy’s locker room? Wish you were invisible? There may be a sphere for that.
Janos Perczel, a 22-year old genius, published a study on the possibility of an invisibility sphere. Essentially, this sphere would slow down the light that reaches it, causing it to be invisible in front of other backgrounds.
Additionally, some researchers have been proposing ways to make it mold-able to create an object reminiscent to an invisibility cloak from this unknown series of books about a boy wizard with glasses.
Remember, this is all just theoretical, so if you already ordered something online that promises to make yourself invisible, I urge you to slap yourself across the face.
Feel No Cold
If you’re a fan of polar bear plunges, you might be interested in this tidbit. Scientists at USC have found a way to disable a neuron in mice that makes them sensitive to cold.
We have neurons in our brains with cellular structures called TRPM8 channels that tell us, “Hey! It’s cold outside. Put on a jacket, dummy.” By being able to turn these neurons off (or change the TRPM8 channel, if you will), we could make ourselves invulnerable to freezing temperatures and insusceptible to pain in general.
According to the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have found a way to deactivate these neurons with a bacterial toxin. Scientists used this toxin on mice and noticed that mice with disabled neurons were able to endure cold temperatures longer than mice with able neurons.
If this toxin were developed for humans, it would be of great use for participants in those “how-long-can-you-sit-on-a-block-of-ice” competitions. However, this toxin could help with developing new pain medications and ostensibly much more.
With all these theoretical innovations, it seems as if we may see a time where people can actively transform themselves, or invest in products, that can make them super humans. Is this the direction we’re headed in? What will the world be like with invisible bionic super humans who never feel any pain?
Obviously, we’ll keep you posted if someone finds a way to give humans the ability to fly. Unless, of course, we’re too busy, you know, flying.