Wonders Never Cease

Wonders Never Cease

If you follow the daily news items we post on our website and social media, you may have caught a story today that is truly remarkable. If not, I just have to share with you, because it seems like science fiction.
Here’s the news: researchers in Spain have developed an implant that jacks directly into the brain, bypassing the eyes altogether, that allows blind people to see. Seems unbelievable, right?
Here’s what it looks like:
Sort of like a tiny bed of nails, right?
A research team in Spain implanted this in the brain of 57-year-old Bernadeta Gómez, who has been completely blind for more than 10 years.

After 16 years of darkness, Bernardeta was given a six-month window during which she could see a very low-resolution semblance of the world, according to MIT Technology Review.

She wore a modified pair of glasses, blacked out and fitted with a tiny camera, and hooked up to a computer that processes a live video feed, turning it into electronic signals.

A cable suspended from the ceiling links the system to a port embedded in the back of her skull, wired to a 100-electrode implant in the visual cortex in the rear of her brain.

When she was 42, toxic optic neuropathy destroyed the nerves that connect Bernadeta’s eyes to her brain, rendering her totally blind.

Her first moment of sight came after decades of research by Eduardo Fernandez, director of neuroengineering at the University of Miguel Hernandez, in Elche, Spain. His not-so-humble goal: to return sight to as many as possible of the 36 million blind people worldwide who want to see again. And his approach is particularly exciting because it bypasses the eye and optical nerves.

You can read the whole story here.
Obviously we’re still a long way from the day when this technique is perfected, and even longer before it’s widely available, but still — pretty amazing, don’t you think?


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