It sounds like a trait of a comic book superhero, but having eyes with night vision has become a reality (of sorts) for a biohacking group in California. The 'Science for the Masses' team has developed eye drops that temporarily empower a person with the ability to see in the dark. The one-of-a-kind eye drops contain Chlorin e6, a natural molecule found with some deep-sea fish's vision. Volunteer Gabriel Licina, who gave the eye drops a try, claimed he was able to see objects up to 50 metres in total darkness for several hours before the night vision effect faded. But Tehachapi, California-based group did admit the process was risky. "Such an experiment is totally dangerous," Licina, 34, told Metro.
Where did your idea for night vision eyedrops come about?
– Actually, someone mentioned the eyedrops on a forum we follow. They were talking with us about a previous project that we did that also had to do with vision. We looked into it and it looked promising, so we started testing it out.
What's the main point of it?
– There have been a lot of studies done with this chemical Ce6, and some experiments done on marine models with the vision in particular. We just wanted to take it a little further and see how it worked on a healthy human eye.
Has this experiment ever been done on a human?
– No. Two reasons, I assume. The first is that getting through the legal hassles to do human testing with this would be very difficult. The second is that there isn't a whole lot of potential, from a monetary point of view. When it comes down to it, most work done outside of academia needs to be able to make money.
How were the night vision effects?
– The effects were subtle, so I wouldn't say that it felt any different from normal. Things were more visible, but that's subjective. We need to do more testing and with out some quantitative data, it's hard to back up our work.
But it's not permanent...
– No. Just about anything you put into your body will get broken down. Molecules like this don't last indefinitely.
Was the experiment dangerous?
– Totally. You should always do your research and weigh the risks. We actually are a registered nurse and a molecular biologist. It's not like we just started goofing off.