At First, It Felt Like A Lot Of Little Coca-Cola Bubbles On Her Tongue. But Then She Saw It.
It's called a BrainPort.
A recent episode of Radiolab updated us on a story they reported on a few years ago about a young artist losing her eyesight. It was (and remains) one of Radiolab's most popular stories.
Now, that young artist is learning how to "see" again using something that sounds, frankly, unbelievable.
The device works like this: We have a lot of ways to communicate with our brain using our senses. Usually, we *taste* with our tongue, *see* with our eyes, etc., and the "roadways" these signals travel to our brain are well-established. But our bodies can create new pathways for those signals to get to our noggin. That's what this device does for the sense of sight.
Using a combination of a camera placed near the eyes and a small piece of titanium with thousands of electrodes placed on the tongue, this BrainPort Vision Device miraculously creates a new way for the brain to receive "sight."
It's tough to describe so listen to how Radiolab explains it, and especially check out how Emilie Gossiaux describes the sensations on her tongue:
Now you'll appreciate this video of Emilie in action. Here she is using it to paint:
In the hunt to find even more information about this fascinating device, I found some footage of another person using the device. It features this really deep quote:
"You don't see with your eyes, you see with your brain."
Cue jaw drop. Before discovering this device, I hadn't really thought of it like that before. Check it out:
And there you have it — technology making the world a better place. All day, every day. Crushing it.