A new device will be available to improve the lives of the blind, as FDA approves the BrainPort vision device.
The device is called the BrainPort V100 and it addresses people who are blind and who do not suffer from sensibility towards light. The patent for this amazing device is owned by the American company Wicab Inc., which is based in Wisconsin and its development was funded by Google and the U.S. Department of Defense, because it truly shows great potential.
The BrainPort device is comprised of three important parts: a pair of dark glasses that come equipped with a camera, a controller and a stimulating device. And it works by transforming the images that are taken by the camera in real time to electrical stimuli that are transmitted to the device’s user through the stimulating device, that is a a small square gizmo that has to be in contact with the user’s tongue.
The principle of the device is that the effect that these electrical stimuli have on people who are legally blind is different than that experienced by people who can see. On a blind person, the electrical stimuli that are applied to the tongue have the ability to stimulate the visual cortex.
This does not mean that a blind person is given the ability to see though, but it appears that it is more than a person with proper eyesight interprets. The electrical stimuli are only capable of determining a tactile effect on those who can see.
The small lollipop device can transform the images it receives into approximately 400 types of low-intensity electrical shocks that tingle the tongue. And since they are different in accordance to the image, the BrainPort system is able to lead to a kind of language that the blind can understand and thus figure out what lies in front of them.
Therefore, this device has the capacity of generating an equivalent for the sign language that the deaf use. However, this will require significant practice hours that the user of the device will have to put in.
But this time will definitely pay off since the developers of the BrainPort device say that with their product, visually impaired people could get to distinguish the difference between some objects like a ball and a banana. Furthermore, they may even get to learn to read certain small words, such as EXIT.
The fact that this device can offer the blind more independence is a very important thing, because this could greatly boost the self esteem of the visually impaired. Moreover, it could greatly help those patients who lose their sight at a certain point in their lives cope better with the current conditions.
The price of the BrainPort V100 will start at $10,000, but the independence it offers is clearly worth the money. Hopefully, in the future, as the device becomes used by blind people, its price will go down, so that more and more people are able to afford it.
The BranPort is a groundbreaking invention, because it opens an entirely new world to the blind, by interpreting reality in a way that they can experience in their own personal way.
Image Source: blogcdn.com