Eyes work without connection to brain: Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain

If you could have extra eyes somewhere on your body, where would you put them and why?

Feb. 27, 2013 — For the first time, scientists have shown that transplanted eyes located far outside the head in a vertebrate animal model can confer vision without a direct neural connection to the brain.

Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences used a frog model to shed new light — literally — on one of the major questions in regenerative medicine, bioengineering, and sensory augmentation research.

“One of the big challenges is to understand how the brain and body adapt to large changes in organization,” says Douglas J. Blackiston, Ph.D., first author of the paper “Ectopic Eyes Outside the Head in Xenopus Tadpoles Provide Sensory Data For Light-Mediated Learning,” in the February 27 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology. “Here, our research reveals the brain’s remarkable ability, or plasticity, to process visual data coming from misplaced eyes, even when they are located far from the head.”

Blackiston is a post-doctoral associate in the laboratory of co-author Michael Levin, Ph.D., professor of biology and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts University.

Levin notes, “A primary goal in medicine is to one day be able to restore the function of damaged or missing sensory structures through the use of biological or artificial replacement components. There are many implications of this study, but the primary one from a medical standpoint is that we may not need to make specific connections to the brain when treating sensory disorders such as blindness.”

via Eyes work without connection to brain: Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain.




Neanderthals may have swapped social lives for big eyes – life – 13 March 2013 – New Scientist

The visual hardware in the neanderthals brain took up the room we use for socializing. They died off for lack of beer goggles.

Neanderthals may have had bigger eyes than modern humans, but while this helped them see better, it may have meant that they did not have brainpower to spare for complex social lives.

If true, this may have been a disadvantage when the ice age reduced access to food, as they would not have had the skills to procure help from beyond their normal social group, speculates Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford.

Neanderthals’ brains were roughly the same size as modern humans, but may have been organised differently. To find out, a team led by Dunbar studied the skulls of 13 Neanderthals and 32 anatomically modern humans. The Neanderthals had larger eye sockets. There are no Neanderthal brains to examine, but primates with larger eyes tend to have larger visual systems in their brains, suggesting Neanderthals did too.

via Neanderthals may have swapped social lives for big eyes – life – 13 March 2013 – New Scientist.

‘Terminator’ false arm ties shoelace and deals cards – YouTube

Nigel Ackland answers questions about his amazing carbon fibre mechanical hand.

‘Terminator’ false arm ties shoelace and deals cards – YouTube.

Mind Control Headphones | neurowear “mico” instruction movie

Headphones which detect your brain’s mood and chooses an appropriate soundtrack. It makes me wonder, if you’re always in the same crappy mood will it just keep playing the same crappy songs. It would be cool if the software could track which types of songs improve your mood. It also makes me wonder if your brain is controlling it, or if it is controlling your brain.

neurowear “mico” instruction movie (脳波ヘッドフォン) – YouTube.