BrainPort Gives Sight To Blind Soldier
BrainPort sends video signals through the tongue to give back sight to blind solider…
A British soldier who lost his sight to a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, 2007, has become the first to use a technology that allows him to see using his tongue.
Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, 24, from Walton, Merseyside, can now read words, make out shapes and walk unaided thanks to the new device.
The sight-giving gadget, known as BrainPort, consists of two video-equipped sunglasses linked to a ‘lollipop’ that is placed in the mouth.
The images captured by the cameras are sent to the tongue in the form of electrical pulses, the brain then processes the pulses as pixelated images. L/Cpl Lundberg explains:
“[The device gives off] a pins and needles sensation. [It’s like] licking a nine volt battery or like popping candy.”
“You get lines and shapes of things, it sees in black and white so you get a two dimensional image on your tongue, it’s a bit like a pins and needles sensation…
“It’s only a prototype, but the potential to change my life is massive, it’s got a lot of potential to advance things for blind people…
“One of the things it has enabled me to do is pick up objects straight away; I can reach out and pick them up when before I would be fumbling around to feel for them.”
The British MoD expects the cost of the device and related training to be no more than £18,000 – a figure that could easily be reduced as technology progresses. Either way, it is certainly a small price to pay for a sense that is so often taken for granted.
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