In this week’s edition of Discovered Technologies we present you with a video that demonstrates one of the latest forefronts in assistive technologies for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Dr. Maurice Ptito has created a device that allows blind people to “see” by means of their tongues. “Seeing with tongue” is a device that allows the processing and adjusting of real-time images by means of placing an electrode on top of a person’s tongue. The visually impaired or blind person straps a webcam on their fore-head, then slips a very thin plastic electrode into their mouth. As this electrode is connected to the webcam in real time, it receives electric impulses which are then gently released on to the tongue.
The receptive zones of taste and sight have been found to share a place in the neo-cortex area of the brain. This allows the user to taste light.
The latest device uses an 8×8 sensor matrix which doesn’t provide the user with rich information yet, but studies are promising as testers have been able to walk in rooms and through doorways without much difficulty. In the future, thanks to sponsors who contribute to the development of this device, it is expected that the sensor matrix will be able to expand in size and definition to provide much richer information.