The research, which was conducted by a team lead by Tian Xue from the University of Science and Technology of China and Gang Han from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, involved injecting nanoparticles in to the eyes of laboratory mice which anchored themselves to photoreceptor cells and ‘upconverted’ near-infrared light in to visible light.
Reportedly, this additional vision lasted about ten weeks before wearing off, during which time the mice could not only see in near – infrared, but also see normal visible light.
Moreover, there seems to be no reason why this method will not work on human eyes as well, thus opening up the possibility of seeing without external equipment in the dark.
“These extensive experiments leave no doubt that mice injected with infrared-sensitive nanoparticles gain the ability to detect infrared light and obtain visual information from it,” said Prof Vladimir J. Kefalov of Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the research.
“However, it is not clear whether achieving practical infrared vision in humans will require repetitive injections and, if so, whether such chronic treatment will have adverse long-term effects on the structure and function of our eyes.”