August 7th, 2009

Using a lollipop to see

An innovative new device for the blind is allowing them to see with their tongues. One is an Iraq veteran who lost both eyes to a roadside bomb.

“The lollipop is an inch-square grid with 625 small round metal pieces. It is connected by a wire to a small camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses and to a hand-held controller about the size of a BlackBerry. The camera sends an image to the lollipop, which transmits a low-voltage pulse to Jernigan's tongue.” … "When you were a child, did anyone ever draw a picture on your back?" Beckman asked during a phone interview. He said receiving information via the BrainPort is similar to perceiving a shape sketched on your skin by a person's finger."

This is fascinating. I’m kind of glad it’s not too widespread yet. I’m not sure how it would affect the book I have coming out in 2010 about a blind girl who gets kidnapped. Although maybe not that much. You can only use the device for stationary shapes, and Cheyenne is on the run for much of the book.

Read more in The Washington Post.

site stats

Add This Blog to the JacketFlap Blog Reader