‘Bionic’ eye on the future: From ‘Star Trek’ visors to ‘Mission Impossible’ contact lenses

NOW PLAYINGFirepower: Could bionic eyes give the military super sight?

Could bionic eyes restore sight to the blind and give the U.S. military super sight?

Bionic implanted eyeballs, “Star Trek”-style visors, telescopic contact lenses … these are just a few of the many exciting projects underway to both restore and provide enhanced sight.

Significant strides have been made in tech that will restore and transform lives – replacing white canes, service animals, braille machines and more for the visually impaired.

There has been a lot in the media about prosthetic breakthroughs for U.S. veterans, but what about vision? Last year the Blinded Veterans Association told the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs that there are an estimated 131,580 legally blinded veterans in the U.S., citing data from the Depatment of Veterans Affairs.

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Technology is being increasingly harnessed to overcome blindness. So far, much of the key progress has been restricted to restoring sight for those with a specific type of visual impairment – in particular retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited condition that involves the loss of cells in the retina and causes a decline in vision.

BIONIC EYE IMPLANTS

One of the first and most promising “bionic eyes” is the Argus II made by Second Sight, which is geared toward patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

The system has two parts:  a very high tech retinal implant and a camera mounted on eyeglasses or shades. The “bionic eye” is surgically implanted in, and on, the eye.  It has an antenna, an electronics case, and an electrode array.

The camera processes what it sees and sends it to a small computer that the person wears.  The data is processed and translated into instructions that are sent wirelessly to the antenna in the implant.

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The retinal implant has 60 electrodes in it. These electrodes provide information to the optic nerve and the optic nerve relays the data to the brain. The optic nerve understands this data as shapes, light and movement.

This vision is not yet like normal sight and it will not restore vision to 20/20. But with Argus II, folks who were once sightless can see in black and white – they can read a book and see their homes and loved ones for the first time. More advances are in the pipeline for Argus II to restore color as well as resolution and brightness.

Argus II bionic eyes require functioning retina so many, including many visually impaired veterans, can’t take advantage of that tech – Second Sight’s Orion technology could be the solution.

PLUGGING INTO THE BRAIN

By skipping the optic nerve and directly plugging into the visual cortex, Orion could hold enormous potential for veterans who have visual impairment due to trauma.

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In fact, this approach could potentially help those blinded by cancer or glaucoma.

This new device bypasses the retinal layer and implants electrodes directly onto the visual region of the brain.

Second Sight announced a major breakthrough for its Orion I project late last year. In a trial at UCLA, the very first of these devices to directly plug into the brain, a wireless visual cortical stimulator, was implanted in a human subject. The test was a success and restored vision to a 30-year old patient with no major side effects.

‘STAR TREK’-STYLE VISOR

Ever seen “Star Trek?” One American company has created a sort of real-life version of character Geordi La Forge’s “visor.”

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With the eSight 3 device, the wearer can see full-color video images without a time lag. Wherever the user looks and whatever he or she looks at, the high-speed, high-def camera captures it for them.

Advanced algorithms are used for the video feed. The video is then displayed on two screens in front of the wearer’s eyes. The video image is provided in a way that overcomes their vision loss.

eSight isn’t a cure-all at this point. If the retina damage is too severe, then it may not work. It tends to be more helpful with macular degeneration, for example, than glaucoma. The company says the technology has about a 50 percent chance of working with all conditions.

GIVING SOLDIERS SUPER SIGHT

Advances in this field are also creating the potential to give US warfighters super vision.

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One exciting example is a new contact lens funded by DARPA, and made by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, that gives the wearer the ability to zoom like a telescope.

The scleral lens has thin aluminum mirrors built into it that work with special liquid crystal glasses. These glasses are connected to an electronic system.

Think “Mission Impossible.” If you blink your right eye, then it allows magnifying – but if you wink your left then the vision is normal. If you blink normally, it doesn’t trigger the magnifying mode.

In addition to the contact lens, other projects have made great headway. Even Second Sight bionic eyes can see in IR with a specific input device.

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Augmenting soldiers with vision-enhancing tech could provide advantages for ground troops and special operations in particular. Warfighters could switch between seeing in night vision, infrared, thermal, zoom, telescopic and more. Whether worn or implanted, it would provide enhanced capabilities that remove the weight of carrying optics and the time lost shifting optics by switching instead at the speed of thought.

Just one specific illustration of how helpful this could be is explosives. If the amazing advances in explosive detection could be miniaturized and adapted for military bionic eyes, then warfighters with enhanced vision could scan and spot these hidden IEDs before they could strike – putting an end to injury and death due to IEDs.

Meet a Green Beret who was blinded in combat, but still serves, shoots with remarkable accuracy and explored Antarctica with Prince Harry at Tactical Talk this week. 

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book “Future Weapons: Access Granted”  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

‘The first Oval Office’: Museum will showcase Washington’s Revolutionary War tent

General George Washington's Revolutionary War field tent on display at the Museum of the American Revolution (Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution).

General George Washington’s Revolutionary War field tent on display at the Museum of the American Revolution (Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution).

A stunning artifact from the Revolutionary War – General George Washington’s field tent – will go on display when the Museum of the American Revolution opens its doors in April.

Dubbed “the first Oval Office,” the canvas tent will be the cornerstone of the Philadelphia-based Museum’s collection of approximately 3,000 Revolutionary War-era artifacts.

The museum’s opening on April 19 will be the first time in decades that the tent has been on public display.

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An iconic piece of U.S. history, the tent was likely made in Reading, Pennsylvania in early 1778 when Washington was camped at Valley Forge, according to the Museum. Deployed as a mobile field headquarters, the tent was used during many of the Revolutionary War’s key moments, such as the Siege of Yorktown, the war’s last major battle.

The Museum told Fox News that it obtained the tent when it acquired the Burk collection of Revolutionary War artifacts in 2003. In 1909 the Reverend Herbert Burk, an Episcopal priest in Valley Forge, purchased the tent for $5,000 from Mary Custis Lee, a descendant of Martha Washington. Burk, who wanted to create a museum dedicated to the nation’s founding, raised the tent’s purchase price from ordinary Americans.

Preparing to display the tent was a major undertaking for the Museum, which wanted to make the structure appear as if it were pitched in a field, but without putting tension on the centuries-old fabric. To solve the problem, structural engineers Keast & Hood designed an umbrella-like aluminum and fabric structure to display the tent.

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To test the structure, the Museum brought in a team of tradespeople from Colonial Williamsburg to build a “stunt double” replica tent. “We used the replica tent on several separate occasions to test the structure, which took varying amounts of time,” explained a spokeswoman for the Museum, in an email to Fox News. “The installation of the actual tent took four days.”

Underlining the tent’s historical importance, the structure is situated in a dedicated 100-seat theater when the Museum opens to the public.

“A commander-in-chief needs a quiet place to think, and this tent was Washington’s only private space throughout much of the Revolutionary War,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, the Museum’s vice president of collections exhibitions, and programming, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “When I started to read about how Washington would use this tent, the images that popped into my head were very familiar ones: images of John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Bush after 9/11. Thinking about the hard decisions that leaders have to make — and the emotions they must feel —  confirmed to me that this tent really did fulfill the role of the ‘First Oval Office.’ The decisions he made there would change the course of history.”

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The tent was last displayed “several decades ago” at Valley Forge National Historical Park, according to the Museum of the American Revolution.

Other Revolutionary War artifacts that will be on show at the Museum include a rare bible from the battle of Bunker Hill. The King James Bible is inscribed by American soldier Francis Merrifield, who thanks God for sparing his life in the bloody 1775 battle.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

1,700-year-old untouched tomb yields elaborate headdress figurine

A tomb was recently uncovered in Colima, Mexico that held bones and ancient figurines that dated to 1,700 years ago.

A tomb was recently uncovered in Colima, Mexico that held bones and ancient figurines that dated to 1,700 years ago.  (Rafael Platas/INAH)

A 1,700-year-old untouched tomb bearing the bones of a dozen male adults, as well as pre-Columbian figurines and statues, has been unearthed in Mexico.

Archaeologists discovered the ancient tomb, which dates to the Comala Period (between 0 and A.D. 500), during work to remodel a Seventh-day Adventist church in Colima, Mexico. The archaeologists uncovered a hole that was sealed up with stones, artifacts for grinding, and human bones.

Inside, 12 skulls and other bones were piled atop one another in a haphazard manner. Some of the skulls showed signs of damage, as well as tooth fractures and wear, said Rosa María Flores Ramírez, a physical anthropologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico.

When the archaeologists explored further, they discovered three burial levels. In the second burial level, the team found two figurines — a male and female — placed facedown next to two skulls. [Prince’s Tomb: Images from a Mayan Excavation]

Ancient figurines

The male figurine, which measures 15 inches tall and 6 inches wide, was wearing an elaborate headdress with a horn jutting out from it. In his hand, he holds an ax.

The female figurine, which is 12.5 inches by 5.5 inches, shows a woman with a sharp nose and a triangular head. She wears a banded headdress and has her hands crossed, with the right hand holding a pot. The burial also contained two other pots.

Each of the figures was sculpted from fine paste that was polished when complete. The ancient artists used cuts to etch in the facial features.

“The presence of these pieces in the offering hint at the worldview of the groups that inhabited the Colima valley in that period. The sculptures, according to their attributes, served as propitiatory elements that ensured the protection of the deceased, as is the case with the male sculpture, which represents a shaman. The other objects fulfilled the function of bringing the requirements to the underworld,” Rafael Platas Ruíz, an archaeologist at the INAH, said in a translated statement .

The finding is rare because tombs of this type are almost invariably looted before archaeologists can get to them.

The fact that the tomb was untouched “allowed us to have a first approach with the bone remains, to observe the lesions, deformations and to have more information to know what was their way of life,” the researchers said in the statement.

It’s possible that this isn’t the only burial in the area, because the entire Colima valley was occupied continuously from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1500, and cultural relics from different periods in the city’s history may be lying beneath it, the researchers said.

Originally published on Live Science

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is worse than thought

This file 2008 photo provided by NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center shows debris in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii.

This file 2008 photo provided by NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center shows debris in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii.  (AP Photo/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, File)

There’s an enormous, floating “island” of trash in the Pacific Ocean, and it’s much bigger than previously believed, reports the Guardian. Environmentalists from Ocean Cleanup who set out to survey the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” were stunned by the density of plastic containers, fishing nets, and other refuse.

Reconnaissance flights over the heart of the swirling dump between California and Hawaii found chunks of garbage, mostly plastics, many of them measuring more than half a yard.

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Ocean Cleanup’s founder Boyan Slat called the refuse a “ticking time bomb because the big stuff will crumble down to micro-plastics over the next few decades if we don’t act.” Fish and other marine life eat the micro-plastics, passing them up the food chain.

The patch measures about 1.3 million square miles, with the heart of it spanning about 386,000 square miles. The UN says it is growing so quickly, it can be seen from space.

This was the first-ever aerial survey of the garbage patch, notes a post at Science Daily, which adds that “more debris was recorded than what is expected to be found in the heart of the accumulation zone.” In fact, “it was impossible to record everything,” Slat tells the Guardian.

“It was bizarre.” Next year the group plans to test a V-shaped rubber boom that aims to herd floating rubbish into a cone. An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans, damaging the food chain, one 2014 study found.

(By one projection, our oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ Worse Than Thought

Poignant farewells: Tragic Titanic letters up for auction

Dr. John Simpson's letter (Henry Aldridge & Son).

Dr. John Simpson’s letter (Henry Aldridge & Son).

Rare letters that provide a fascinating glimpse into life on Titanic and the liner’s fateful final moments are up for auction in the U.K.

A letter written by Titanic’s second officer Charles Lightoller provides an incredible snapshot into the ship’s sinking in 1912. Lightoller, the highest ranking surviving crew member, gives a first-person account of his farewell to crew members including the ship’s assistant surgeon Dr. John Simpson.

Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time on April 14 1912 and sank just over two hours later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives, including Simpson.

“I deeply regret your loss, which is also mine,” Lightoller writes, in the letter sent to Simpson’s friend R.W. Graham of Holt & Co. in New York. “I may say I was practically the last man to speak to Dr. Simpson, and on this occasion he was walking along the boat-deck in company with Messrs. McElroy, Barker, Dr. O’Loughlin and four assistant pursers.”

“They were all perfectly calm in the knowledge that they had done their duty and were still assisting by showing a calm and cool exterior to the passengers,” he added. “Each one individually came up to me and shook hands. We merely exchanged the words ‘Goodbye, old man.’ This occurred shortly before the end and I am not aware that he was seen by anyone after.”

Lightoller’s letter was written on board S.S. Adriatic on May 1 1912 when he was returning to the U.K. after giving evidence at the U.S. inquiry into the loss of the White Star Line’s Titanic.

Another letter up for auction was the first written on board Titanic by Simpson. In the letter to the Adjutant of the First Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, Simpson, a British Army reserve doctor, requests a transfer to the military’s inactive list so that he can perform his duties on Titanic. The letter was sent on April 9 1912, the day before Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage, and is written on the ship’s official stationary.

“The content of these letters is among the most important we have ever handled, to have an account of the last moments of the ship written by the ship’s most senior surviving officer on his return from the American Titanic enquiry is unprecedented,” Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told FoxNews.com.

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The letters have pre-sale estimates of $12,648 to $18,973 and $37,946 to $63,243, respectively and will be auctioned by Henry Aldridge & Son with other Titanic, White Star Line and ocean liner artifacts in Devizes, U.K. on Oct. 22.

A number of artifacts from the doomed ship were auctioned in the U.K. earlier this with the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia selling for just under $97,000. Three photos and a handwritten note detailing the grisly discovery of Titanic’s last lifeboat were sold for $6,800.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Strange orange alligator turns heads in South Carolina

File photo: An alligator floats in a pond under rainy skies on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, August 8, 2012.

File photo: An alligator floats in a pond under rainy skies on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, August 8, 2012.  (REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger)

An alligator in a small South Carolina town is grabbing attention because of one weird quality: it’s orange.

To be more accurate, it’s a rusty, clay, sweet-potato color, and no one is sure why. But one thing is for certain— it doesn’t have an alligator’s typical color.

The little gator, reportedly about 4.5 feet long, lives in a pond in Hanahan, South Carolina.

Orange “Trumpagator” spotted in has residents scratching their heads. Is it albino? Clemson fan? http://bit.ly/2k51B5G 

The Post and Courier reported that a post on Facebook about the strangely-colored animal has gotten plenty of attention, with one person commenting that the orange-ish animal was a “Trumpagator.”

And a local resident told the paper, after photographing the reptile: “”I just thought, what the hell is that?”

It’s unclear why the gator has the strange, Doritos-like color, although one expert speculated its non-natural color could be due to an “environmental factor,” like a pollutant or algae.

The dinosaurs died a cold, dark death, new study shows

A snow covered T-Rex life size dinosaur sculpture is pictured at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

A snow covered T-Rex life size dinosaur sculpture is pictured at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

It’s widely acknowledged that the Earth was a cold, dark place after a giant meteor, measuring roughly six miles across, struck Mexico about 66 million years ago, which many believe triggered what is known as the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Now, new research using state-of-the-art computer simulations paints a more detailed picture of this period and how long-lasting cooling and a mixing of the oceans may have spelled the end for the dinosaurs.

The results of the new study discounted the competing theory that it was large-scale volcanic eruptions, as opposed to the meteor’s impact, that led to the extinction.

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“Our results show that the impact must have played a significant role in the mass extinction,” lead study author Julia Brugger from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Control told Fox News.

The model assumed that tiny droplets of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere caused the long-term cooling after the comet hit. It’s long been posited that it was dust particles thrown into the air from the meteor strike that lethally blocked the sun, but dust wouldn’t last long enough in the atmosphere to cool the Earth for several years. Sulfate aerosols have a longer cooling effect due to their more sustained time in the atmosphere.

“The target rock, which was struck by the asteroid, contained sulfur,” Brugger explained. “After the impact, sulfur bearing gases evaporated and formed sulfate aerosols high up in the atmosphere.”

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For Brugger, the most surprising result of the study was the magnitude of the cooling. When the acid droplets blocked the sun, it caused the Earth’s surface air temperature to drop by at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the annual mean temperatures of the tropics went from 80 to 41 degrees. The global average temperature was below freezing for about three years, which was obviously bad news for life on Earth. Dinosaurs used to a tropical climate froze while their food supplies withered and died. It would take 30 years for the climate to recover from the cooling.

“This is based on basic physical laws, but I still find it fascinating that an accident like this asteroid impact can completely change climate for a couple of years,” Brugger said. “It really illustrates how fragile our climate system is.”

Another surprise was the meteor impact’s disruption of ocean circulation.  The ice caps expanded and surface waters cooled down, becoming denser and heavier. While these cooler water masses sank into the depths, warmer water from deeper ocean layers rose to the surface. The warmer waters carried nutrients that likely led to massive blooms of algae that may have been toxic.

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“The model simulations of our study allow us to observe a disturbance of the ocean circulation and this leads to a nutrient transport to the surface ocean,” Brugger said. “This could have caused an algal bloom and it is conceivable that these algal blooms produced toxic substances, further affecting life at the coasts.”

This toxic algae– as well as sulfuric acid from the meteor strike mixing into the oceans– might’ve been what led to the deaths of marine life, which would include creatures like the ammonites (marine mollusk animals). Creatures living on the coast would have been greatly affected as well.

While the comet strike likely meant the end for the dinosaurs, it did make way for the evolution of the human species. And though extinction was cold and dark for the prehistoric creatures, it’ll likely be quite toasty for us.

“It’s a certain irony that today the most immediate threat is not from natural cooling but from human-made global warming,” Brugger said.

Hitler’s ‘device of destruction’ could fetch $300,000

 

NOW PLAYINGMost destructive weapon of all time for sale: Hitler’s phone

The telephone Adolf Hitler used to bark out orders that led to the deaths of millions is going on the auction block. The chipped red phone, with bits of its original black showing through, is engraved on the backside with the Fuhrer’s name and a swastika.

It could fetch as much as $300,000 when it goes up for sale Feb. 19. Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland calls the Bakelite phone made by Siemens “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction” and says it was “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time”; he is said to have used it during the war’s final two years.

Shortly after the Allied victory, a British officer removed the phone from the Fuhrerbunker, his son Ranulf Rayner, 82, tells CNN. “My father didn’t see it as a relic of Hitler’s glory days, more a battered remnant of his defeat, a sort of war trophy.” The auction house explains that as the Russians gave Rayner’s father, Ralph, a tour of the bunker, they offered him the black phone used by Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun.

He responded that his favorite color was red, and so they handed him Hitler’s phone instead. His other souvenir: a porcelain Alsatian “almost certainly personally presented to Hitler by Heinrich Himmler,” per the auction house, which says the elder Rayner saw it on Hitler’s desk.

The dog statue, made at the Dachau concentration camp, could fetch $35,000. “It’s a pretty nasty thing, just as sinister as the phone,” Ranulf Rayner tells CNN.

It’s not the only Hitler auction to grab recent headlines: Amid protests by Jewish groups, an Argentine bidder spent more than $650,000 on Hitler’s jacket and other memorabilia at a 2016 auction in Munich, per AFP.

Braun’s things were also recently sold.

This article originally appeared on Newser: One of History’s Deadliest Phones Will Be Sold

Incredible photo shows shark lurking beneath young surfer

In this photo from Jan. 24, 2017, provided by Chris Hasson, 10-year-old Eden Hasson, Chris' son, surfs near what is believed to be a great white shark at Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia.

In this photo from Jan. 24, 2017, provided by Chris Hasson, 10-year-old Eden Hasson, Chris’ son, surfs near what is believed to be a great white shark at Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia.  (Chris Hasson via AP)

Cue the music from “Jaws.”

An incredible photo that has gone viral shows a boy in Australia surfing a wave— while just in front and beneath him a shark is lurking, perhaps a great white.

The 10-year-old surfer, Eden Hasson, said he was oblivious to the powerful predator beneath the waves until his father, Chris Hasson, showed him the photograph.

The photo has since made headlines from Australia to the UK to the United States, and a Facebook post by Hasson about the incident has generated over a thousand reactions.

“If I was on the wave and saw it, I probably would’ve freaked out and fell off,” Eden told an Australian TV station after the brush with the shark. “I was lucky I didn’t fall off.”

The incident occurred at a beach called Samurai, north of Sydney. Chris Hasson told the Associated Press that he told the boy to get off the water after seeing the ghostly image of the shark in the photograph.

“I quickly called him in and whistled,” Hasson said. His son, he said, “saw a shape in the wave and thought it was seaweed and felt something as he went over the top — he got his leg rope caught on something — but he thought nothing of it until he saw the photo.”

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The father also said that it was a “gut feeling” that spurred him to review the photos. “I just had a gut feeling so I went into the photos and zoomed in and went ‘No way’,” Hasson said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The same Australian state where this incident took place, New South Wales, was host to a tragedy in 2015, when a 41-year-old Japanese surfer died after a shark attack. The shark attack rate in recent years in Australia has been higher than average.

But one shark expert told the Associated Press that in the case of the “photobombing” shark, the animal was likely just trying to avoid the surfboard.

“From the angle, it looks like the shark was spooked and is rolling away from the board to escape it,” Chin said. “There is no way that this is a hunting approach.”

This is not the only shark to make headlines recently. A mako shark named Hell’s Bay has astounded researchers by breaking a record: in less than two years, it cruised an astounding 13,000 miles in the Atlantic.

Britain discovers its ‘first selfie’: a 4,000-year-old stone carving

Gordon Holmes on Baildon Moor with what he believes is a Stone Age selfie of a person under the symbol for Cassiopeia.

Gordon Holmes on Baildon Moor with what he believes is a Stone Age selfie of a person under the symbol for Cassiopeia.  (© Telegraph and Argus / SWNS.com)

A 4,000-year-old Stone Age selfie has been unearthed from one of Britain’s spookiest areas.

Stunned Gordon Holmes, 64, discovered the ancient picture of a face etched into a rock on Baildon Moor in Yorkshire.

Gordon said: “I realised that I was looking at a Stone Age selfie.”

“It also shows a stick figure, which I presume is the artist, sitting or standing in the local landscape or round a fire with almost like a speech bubble above their head showing Cassiopeia above him. It is as if he has carved a selfie of himself.”

The jury’s out on whether it can rival Kim Kardashian’s pout pics – which will set you back £445 a piece.

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Ironically, Cassiopeia – which the artist appears to have drawn himself under – is a constellation named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who loved bragging about her ravishing looks.

While the portrait might not be as old as the hieroglyphics drawn by the Ancient Egyptians, it’s an incredible marker for British history.

“I know there could be earlier interpretations of selfies, such as those drawn in hieroglyphics by the Ancient Egyptians, but this stone carving selfie on Baildon Moor may well be the earliest example in Britain,” Mr Holmes added.

Gordon is convinced that the moors hold lots more spooky symbols and etchings that point to mystical workings in ancient Britain.

The retired design engineer and IT technician has dedicated his life to studying the weathered ancient carvings.

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He added: ”There are many cup and ring stones around the moors, carved into millstone grit.

”But there are at least five such rocks with carvings representing aspects of the night sky which are on Baildon Moor.

“It seems that only Baildon Moor carvings correlated to patterns of star constellations.

“The other moors of Ilkley, Rivock Edge, Harden and Bingley only have the odd example of astronomical significance.

“What’s more, these five appear to have a particular style, a bit like handwriting, and I am convinced they are by the same artist.

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“My father said to me all those years ago that no-one knew what the markings were, so I made it a mission to find out. I discovered the carvings showed the Pole Star, Cassiopeia, Hyades and Pleiades.

“One particular stone shows Cassiopeia, distinctive in the night sky because it forms a clear ‘W’ shape.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun.