17 October, 2007

Teaching The Tongue To See

From The Frontal Cortex via Andrew Sullivan, this video of an incredible piece of technology that purports to enable blind persons to perceive and navigate their environment in a manner analogous to sight by "remapping" signals received via the tongue to the visual cortex of the brain. Jaw-droppingly amazing:

I found it interesting to note the difficulty the sighted person had in attempting to use the device. It put me in mind of the old canard about blindness heightening the awareness of other senses and I wonder if the learning curve would be as high for a blind person.

I was also fascinated to learn from Jonah's post (at Frontal Cortex) that a similar experiment was performed with ferrets wherein information transmitted from their retinas was fed to the auditory (as opposed to visual) cortex and yet the ferrets could still see! Their brains were able to "remap" the signals and translate them appropriately. Incredible.

No comments: