Biohack – Seeing Infrared

By Anupum Pant

You can’t even imagine what it’d be like seeing infrared through your naked eyes. The spectrum of colours assigned to different wavelengths would now expand, and there’d be some new “colours” visible to you, which no one can describe or even imagine. That’s not me talking from an ivory tower. Of course I couldn’t imagine these new colours too. But a few scientists, who were not contended with the width of spectrum their eyes could detect, decided to widen it to be able to see infrared too.

Peyton Rowlands, Jeffrey A Tibbetts, Gabriel Licina, Ian Galvin, after having gone through enough literature and with a solid academic background in the relevant field of science, were clearly equipped enough. They were confident enough that they had developed a technique which could help humans to widen their spectrum, literally. And what did that technique involve?

A simple dietary plan, of course a prohibitively expensive one, in their experience could change how humans look at their surroundings.

To augment human sight to see into the near infrared range, they said that you’d have to go through a stringent Vitamin A1 restricted diet, supplemented with Vitamin A2 for a couple of months. And that would grant you this amazing superpower. But it came with a catch. You’d go blind if you made the smallest of mistakes.

As far as the science goes, it’s all real and in their own words, for the well informed ones, it goes like this…

We have developed a protocol to augment human sight to see into the near infrared range through human formation of porphyropsin, the protein complex which grants infrared vision to freshwater fish.

Retinal, or Vitamin A (A1), which is found bound to opsin proteins is a keystone of the visual pathway. The cone cells are granted sharp color vision by the complex photopsin. The rod cells which provide us with night vision and recognition of movement do so utilizing rhodopsin. Both of the complexes consist of a type of protein bound to retinal. Porphyropsin differs from this in that it doesn’t use retinal, but rather a derivation called 3,4-dehydroretinol, or Vitamin A2 (A2).

The human body is fully capable of metabolizing and using A2; unfortunately the proteins which allow for transport through cell membranes have nearly 4 times the affinity for A1 compared to A2. We theorize that this can be overcome through a stringent Vitamin A1 restricted diet, supplemented with Vitamin A2.

They did test this on themselves and it did work.

via [PopSci]

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