Little kids dream of swinging like Spider-man, flying like Superman, and controlling the weather like Storm. And if we are being honest, most adults still want to be superheroes.

Now, you have the chance (kind of)…

Self-proclaimed “biohackers” recently published an open source paper in which they claim that they were able to successfully give a man night vision by injecting a liquid solution directly into his eyeball (ouch). Sound like a myth? Not quite. Similar practices have been attempted, with some success, on other species; however, human trials had not been conducted. Until now.

Enter researcher Gabriel Licina, who became a guinea pig for this little endeavor.

For the procedure, the group used a kind of chlorophyll analog called “Chlorin e6” (or Ce6), which is found in some deep-sea fish. Then, they used something like a turkey baster (hey, when you are working like this, you do what you have to) to get the mix into Licina’s eyes. Jeffery Tibbetts, the medical officer, slowly dripped 50 microliters of Ce6, an extremely low dose, into Licina’s speculum-stretched eyes, where the Ce6 traveled to the retina.

The chemical dissolved into Licina’s eyes, and then the waiting game began. As you can see, the whole thing looks a little like a horror movie…

Gabriel LicinaSource: Science for the Masse

However, Licina was a more than willing participant, and it only took him about an hour in order to start feeling (seeing) the changes. And the results, according to the team, are pretty awesome. The paper asserts that, at first, Licina could make out objects in the dark that were at a distance of about 32 feet (10 meters). Soon, this increased to 65 feet (20 m), and eventually, it increased to a staggering 164 feet (50 m)

Licina reported experiencing the effects for “many hours” after application. The paper asserts:

The Ce6 subject and controls were handed a laser pointer and asked to identify the location of the people in the grove. After testing, the Ce6 subject replaced the sunglasses, which were not removed until sleep. Eyesight in the morning seemed to have returned to normal and as of 20 days, there have been no noticeable effects.

The Ce6 subject consistently recognised symbols that did not seem to be visible to the controls. The Ce6 subject identified the distant figures 100 percent of the time, with the controls showing a 33 percent identification rate.

Image via Sciences for the Masses

Now, the team hopes to acquire actual lab equipment, which will involve getting real numbers and hard data related to the electrical stimulation in the eye. However, the nature of the work (the source) shouldn’t  dash your hopes. The procedure can easily be replicated by any who wish to confirm the data (however, of course, do not attempt this unless you are an expert). More information will likely be coming in the next few months, best to wait until then so you don’t inadvertently blind yourself.

The researchers told Max Plenke at Mic that the whole idea behind their research group is to pursue the things that major corporations or research institutions wouldn’t touch because they may not be commercially viable. “For us, it comes down to pursuing things that are doable but won’t be pursued by major corporations,” said Tibbetts. “There are rules to be followed and don’t go crazy, but science isn’t a mystical language that only a few elite people can speak.”

If night vision is commercialized, will you buy the drops?

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