He thought he'd never be able to see again. Thanks to his tongue, he can.

Andy woke up with no sight and a tube down his throat.

On Sept. 28, 2011, an unknown person assaulted Andy. The attack knocked him unconscious, and when he woke up, he couldn't see anymore. The assault had damaged his optic nerve.

"I thought to myself, 'Hah. Whatever. You'll just open me up, reattach the wires and lights come back on again,'" recalls Andy. But that wasn't going to happen. "[The doctor] put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'I'm sorry, Andy.'"


Over time, Andy adjusted to losing his sight. But it wasn't easy.

More than 7 million American adults are blind or have a visual disability and it doesn't necessarily have to be a sad thing. But for Andy, losing his sight was difficult.

"The hardest thing for me being completely blind is not seeing my family every day," says Andy. "For me to learn to accept, 'You're never going to see again, Andy. You're never going to see your wife, your children, your dog.' Taken away in the blink of an eye. It's not fair."

But then the doctor said he might know something that could help.

There's a weird device out there called the BrainPort. It lets people see with their tongues. Yeah — their tongues. The device has three parts: a small camera, an iPhone-sized computer, and a weird half-spatula/half-lollipop-looking thing.

Using it is pretty simple: The camera and computer capture an image, then send it as a pattern of buzzes to the lollipop, which the person puts in their mouth (the buzzes apparently feel kind of like Pop Rocks candy.)

A buzzing lollipop sounds pretty weird, but it does seem to work.

Our brains are actually pretty good at figuring out how to use new information (it also helps that our tongues are incredibly sensitive, as anyone who's accidentally bitten theirs can tell you). It took a little while for Andy to get used to the buzzing sensation, but not that long.

"I felt this buzzing on my tongue, and I felt the impression. And then I saw my hand. For the first time in five years, I saw my hand," Andy explains. "Something that small is huge."

If certain studies are correct, Andy's brain could have processed the signals in his vision centers, as if the information was coming from his eyes themselves.

Seeing his hand must have been big. But not as big as seeing his family again.

"The first person was [my son] little Andy. He shook his hand back and forth and he said, 'Dad, you can see me?'" says Andy. You could see the emotion in his face. "He said, 'Hey, pop.'"

"It had been five years since I've seen my kids," Andy says. "It's incredible."

Watch Andy's story below:

True

This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via 1POCNews / Twitter

We're more than nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and things are only getting worse. On Wednesday, December 2, America had its deadliest day yet with nearly 3,000 people succumbing to the virus.

America is experiencing its greatest public health crisis in generations and the only way we're getting out of it is by widespread administration of a vaccine.

However, if people don't take the vaccine, there will be no end to this horror story.

Keep Reading Show less
True

This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

Keep Reading Show less

With vaccine rollouts for the novel coronavirus on the horizon, humanity is getting its first ray of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021. That normalcy, however, will depend on enough people's willingness to get the vaccine to achieve some level of herd immunity. While some people are ready to jump in line immediately for the vaccine, others are reticent to get the shots.

Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

A big part of responsible leadership is setting an example. Though these presidents are no longer in the position of power they once held, they are in a position of influence and have offered to use that influence for the greater good.

Keep Reading Show less