What if you could give sight to the blind? It may sound preposterous, but it is very real possibility in the next few years. Dr. Sheila Nirenberg is an associate professor of Computational Neuroscience at Cornell University and she doesn't mess around. She is currently testing a prosthetic retina that will help millions of people with degenerative retinal disease.
The implications of this are huge. For one, current prosthetic retinas do not take into account any neural codes to help the brain decipher what's in front of the eyes. This makes for an extremely limited picture. Dr. Nirenberg and postdoc Chethan Pandarainath are attempting to change that. Their prosthetic will involve gene therapy (focusing on the protein channelrhodopsin) and glasses with a camera and chip to process the code.
Rad, right? Science fiction is alive! But more than that, what an amazing lesson for future scientists everywhere. There really are no limits to what bright minds, passion, and creative energy can accomplish. I would say that the sky's the limit, but that's not the case anymore. Yes, we landed a rover on Mars. Anything is possible, my friends.
Encourage your children to think outside the box. As a matter of fact, crush the box analogy altogether. That's so last year. We do not need to limit our young. Their role models do not need to be confined to pop stars and basketball players. No offense, Bieber. I want my sons to say "I want to be like Bobak Ferdowsi (mohawk and all!)" and for their friends to say "Dr. Nirenberg is my hero."
Science is cool. Remember that.