The brain is still very much a mystery to us despite the massive leaps in medical science and technology over the past few decades, and so work continues to harness the virtually unlimited potential of the brain for everyday use. Sheila Nirenberg of Cornell University has been studying and working on a way to figure out just how the retina in your eye “talks” to the brain, and she hopes to have cracked the code at long last.

In order to achieve her goals, Nirenberg relied on a brute force method, using a complete animal eye and attaching electrodes to the optic nerve, while taking down measurements of the recorded electric pulses. This is the coded signal that a viewed image makes every single time. For instance, a certain electric code is generated when you look at select objects so that your brain can tell the difference. Using mathematical equations that are amazingly accurate, Nirenberg managed to encode images into neuron pulses which can be understood by the animal brain. She now intends to translate the same concept to that of a human brain, which might mean a prosthetic eye of the future could help blind folks see again.

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