Published on February 13th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Georgi La Forge Star Trek Glasses For The Blind Could Soon Be A Reality
In the fictional universe of Star Trek the engineer Georgi La Forge is able to overcome his blindness by wearing a specially designed visor and now scientists in Israel believe they are closer to realizing that type of tehnology.
The researcher teams Sensory Substitution Device works by turning visual information into sound that can then be interpreted as images with a little bit of training. Essentially noises activate portions of the visual cortex which are usually dormant in blind people. By creating activity in that part of the brain through sound they are able to detect shapes, see people around them and even read.
In conducting their research the scientists found through use of an MRI scan that the visual cortices in blind people were working as they do in sighted people when the device was being utilized.
Inventor Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem notes of the project:
“The brain is not a sensory machine, although it often looks like one; it is a task machine.”
Here’s a YouTube video of the device in action (not in English but worth a look):
Researchers are still working on improving the devices capabilities but it’s definitely a move in the right direction.