In the field of transhumanism there are a lot of pioneers that want to improve their own bodies with electronic hardware to extend the human capacities – the so called grinders. We already reported about Tim Cannon, who self-implanted a small computer inside his arm and the invisible headphone implants by Rich Lee. There is also the online community Biohack.me, that discuss body-hack purposes.
Now there comes a daring group of 4 bio-hackers from various backgrounds, with a crowdfunded project: they developed a protocol to augment human sight to see into the near infrared range through human formation of porphyropsin. It is the same protein complex that grants infrared vision to freshwater fish and it can be extracted from their livers.
"Retinal, or Vitamin A (A1), which is found bound to opsin proteins is a keystone of the visual pathway. The cone cells are granted sharp color vision by the complex photopsin. The rod cells which provide us with night vision and recognition of movement do so utilizing rhodopsin. Both of the complexes consist of a type of protein bound to retinal. Porphyropsin differs from this in that it doesn't use retinal, but rather a derivation called 3,4-dehydroretinol, or Vitamin A2 (A2).
The human body is fully capable of metabolizing and using A2; unfortunately the proteins which allow for transport through cell membranes have nearly 4 times the affinity for A1 compared to A2. We theorize that this can be overcome through a stringent Vitamin A1 restricted diet, supplemented with Vitamin A2."
The accomplishment of a restricted vitamin A1 diet is not harmless. The lack of this vitamine is the cause of death to millions of children and blindness all over the world. Hopefully the developer of the diet, computer engineer Rob Rhinehart, feel confident about it, as well as with his famous life-optimizing drink Soylent.