One of the most common concerns about our project to extend human vision into the near infrared goes something like this:
If you’re going to see infrared light, won’t the heat from blood vessels in your eyes prevent you from seeing anything with any clarity at all?
In short, the answer is no. This is a common misconception created by such pop culture phenomena as the Predator film franchise and perpetuated by poorly written popsci articles which use the term “infrared” as a blanket category for any radiant energy longer than 700nm without specifying exactly what range of the radiant spectrum is being discussed.
While sitting to one of my last meals tonight (how morbid sounding!), it occurs to me that I’ve permitted a glaring error to escape my notice for several months. All scientific research is built upon the work of its predecessors, for the simple reason that working within a vacuum is both impractical and, in all honesty, impossible. One would have to question absolutely every detail of one’s experiment, and end up stumped at “but what is a protein?” All scientific research, without reservation, is built “on the shoulders of giants”, and a large part of participating in scientific discovery is working smart, not hard, by looking up and digesting the work of previous researchers in the field — and, of course, giving them credit if and when one makes and publishes a discovery. I highly recommend anyone interested in performing an experiment according to the strictures of the scientific method use tools such as Google Scholar to learn what has already been published on the chosen subject and avoid reinventing the wheel.
Electroencephalography is by no means a new technology; first used to record the electrical activity of a human brain by Hans Berger in 1924, the phenomena of seemingly spontaneous electrical activity in the brains of mammals has been studied since as early as 1875. To put this in perspective, this was before Greece began using the Gregorian calendar. As a nearly century old technology based in a relatively simplistic design, one who has never looked into purchasing one before might easily assume that EEG devices have become affordable and user-friendly, like so many other technologies available to us today; perhaps this dire misconception is a side effect of being spoiled by the rapid rise of the personal computer as a consumer technology. Unfortunately, while researching the options on the market for various projects, I’ve found that these two elusive factors, affordability and ease of use, are not available in any single product.
Hello readers and backers,
I would like to begin by apologizing for the frequent delays. Most of them were unpreventable and many of them were out of our hands, but none of these excuses change the fact that ultimately, the responsibility falls on us, and it is to you, our supporters, that we bear that responsibility. Let me reiterate: we set deadlines that depended on factors outside our control, and we had no business doing so. As a result, we have heard some entirely reasonable concerns from some of you that these delays could extend indefinitely, and ultimately result in this project never seeing completion. I would like to put those fears to rest here and now: we will see this study finished.
While we had planned to begin our vitamin A deficient diet at the end of last week, we have unfortunately run into a snag. Ian G., our fourth test subject, has been forced by personal circumstances to drop out of the NIR vision pilot study. With an extra set of equipment and only three data points, one of whom is a control (Gabriel) who will be taking plain old vitamin A alongside our VAD diet, we felt it would be best to push off our experiment start date another month or so while we find a replacement and get him/her into shape.