Re: artificial vision implant for the blind

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2000 - 20:21:32 MST

>From: Ramez Naam <>>Subject: artificial vision
>implant for the blind
>Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 22:59:54 -0800
>A mention of this in _Slate_ caught my eye.
>A Dr. William Dobelle has apparently been implanting patients with
>electrodes to stimulate their visual cortex for the last 20 years. In just
>the last year Moore's law has brought the electronic (and external)
>components of his system up to feasible performance and down to a feasible
>The amazing thing to me, beyond the incredible potential for this, is that
>the implant in the volunteer discussed in the paper has been in place for
>20 years. Only the external components of the system have been upgraded in
>that time. Also, Dobelle claims to have implanted neurostimulators in
>more than 15,000 patients worldwide. I had no idea this was going on.
>The paper is at

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. A few years ago at LOSCON, I was
invited to be on a panel on prostheses of the future. The panel also
included Larry Niven. I had seen a newspaper report on this and mentioned
it, whereupon the third panelist reacted with complete scorn, labeling me a
total fool and implying that I was just making it up. Not having the report
with me, I really felt at a complete loss and looked like a fool to the
audience, I'm sure.
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