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.
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 colours at a static distance, and the ability to identify moving subjects in a varied background at varied distances.”
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.