In this medical video learn how artificial brain parts and super-human senses are coming to a human near you. Learn why these discoveries could change the way we live.
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Jennifer Matthews:The future of the human race is about to take a turn. James Hughes: All human beings have always wanted to be better than well. We have always wanted to transcend the limitations of the human condition. Jennifer Matthews: James Hughes believes the world is headed for a superhuman future. James Hughes: We have continued to invent new technologies to extend the reach of the human body, new tools and new ways of modifying the way the body works. Jennifer Matthews: In Los Angeles, neuroscientist Theodore Berger has developed the first artificial brain part, a hippocampus to help people with Alzheimer's form new memories. Theodore Berger: There's no reason why we can't think in terms of artificial brain parts in the same way we can think in terms of artificial eyes and artificial ears. Jennifer Mattews: Information would come into the brain the same way, but would be re-routed to a computer chip, bypassing the damaged area of the hippocampus. Theodore Berger: What we're hoping to do is to replace at least enough of that function, so there's a significant improvement in the quality of life. Jennifer Mattews: The technology could also help stroke, epilepsy and Parkinson's patients. Theodore Berger: Very exciting stuff in the future. Jennifer Matthews: At the Medical College of Wisconsin Doctor Jay Neitz, is also one of the super-human frontier. Jay Neitz: Since we are human beings and we like to try new things, we could say, 'Wow, wouldn't it be cool if we had a whole other dimension of vision?" Jennifer Matthews: Primates and humans have three photoreceptors and can see four basic colors; red, green, blue and yellow. Here's a newsflash: birds, fish and reptiles have four photoreceptors. Jay Neitz: It's clear that it does allow them to see things that we can't see and so they must have this whole extra dimension of vision that we miss out on. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Neitz is studying gene therapy to give humans that extra dimension. By injecting modified genes directly into the eyes of colorblind monkeys, he expects to turn their world from one that looks like this to this. Jay Neitz: It's hard to imagine that you would even know what it would be like to have this extra dimension of vision. Jennifer Matthews: Neitz says we could see ultraviolet, infrared and all the new shades we get by combining them. Jay Neitz: I personally like the idea of being able to make ourselves better. James Hughes: I think these are an intrinsic part of human nature, of the human condition that we see that we are limited. We live in a limited world, and we are trying to push beyond those limits. Jennifer Matthews: Now, it's up to technology to see how far beyond those limits we can go. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.