Scientists in Tokyo are using smart phone compasses to help blind rats to “see” again.

Blind rats that were sent through a navigation maze performed 80% better after a procedure to implant a compass to help them navigate their surroundings. The animals learned quickly how to use the new information or “allocentric sense,” which allows animals and people to get their sense of body position in the world. The goal was not to restore sight but to give the animals other navigational tools. How does this help in humans? There won’t be any compass implants anytime soon, but the team wants to move forward with special walking canes with the compasses to help the blind move about the world better.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/02/tiny-digital-compass-brain-implants-allow-blind-rats-to-see

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