A team of researchers from UCLA and Baylor has developed a method that allows electrical symbols to draw symbols – including letters and shapes – directly onto the human brain. The result enables people who have completely lost their sense of sight to perceive the forms as “sights”.
The new process bypasses the human eye and optic nerve and uses electrodes to stimulate electrodes implanted in the visual cortex in the back of the brain. It works through dynamic stimulation, which means that researchers don̵
The following video comes from a report in Science News. It shows a user who receives input on his brain implant and then correctly interprets what he sees by drawing it on a screen in front of him:
Basically, it’s the same principle as writing a note on your friend’s back with your finger. Your Pall can recognize what you are writing as you form each letter, as they can follow the unfolding process. Instead of forcing all electrodes to send information in the form of, for example, a letter U at once, the system illuminates the electrodes one after the other so that the receiver can easily determine the shape to be transmitted.
The researchers tested their system on two blind subjects and four people who already had brain implants for the treatment of epilepsy. The results have been amazing. Under various paradigms, the participants regularly perceived the correct shape in their head with an accuracy between 80 and 93 percent.
It is even more astonishing that the participants were able to correctly report up to 86 correct answers per minute. This level of rapid information delivery could lead to a complete revolution in accessibility for the visually impaired.
Imagine connected sensors in public space that could make the visually impaired aware of everything if it is safe to cross the street, in which direction the product aisle is in a grocery store, and only with the power of electrical suggestions. While the researchers only tested simple shapes like the letters C and Z, there is a lot that can only be done with numbers, letters and arrows.
For the time This technology is stuck at the experimental stage. The need for invasive implants does not make it optimal for the treatment of visual impairments in its current iteration. But it’s a fascinating step in the right direction.
For more information, see the team’s research report here.
H / t: science news
Read our daily coverage of how the tech industry is responding to the coronavirus and subscribe to our weekly Coronavirus in Context newsletter.
For tips and tricks on working remotely, see our Growth Quarters articles here or follow us Twitter.