Fwd: Stevie Wonder to get electronic eyes

Sasha Chislenko (sasha1@netcom.com)
Sun, 05 Dec 1999 16:44:38 -0600

>From: Michael Bukatin <bukatin@cs.brandeis.edu>
>To: thecircle@onelist.com
>Subject: [thecircle] Stevie Wonder to get electronic eyes
>Stevie Wonder became blind shortly after his birth
>due to retinal pathology. The device is a computer
>chip implanted into the retina. From what I understand,
>the front part of the chip should be a miniature
>digital camera-like device. The back part of the chip
>should have multiple connections to the undamaged nerves
>under the retina, through which electric signals in the
>proper format for that neural layer are sent into those
>About 15 people are already given such experimental
>devices. The quality is so-so, but it gives people
>the ability to move around and even to read large
>print, when the operation is successful.
>What's important here technologically is that this is
>the first case I am aware of, when a practically
>useful device does not scan electric signal from the
>nerves (read devices), but sends them into nerves in a correct
>format for that group of nerves (write devices)...
>I think, in a few years we might hope for some
>non-medical applications, e.g. if one scans the
>specific patterns of signals during some specific
>creative activities of a person (like painting or math research),
>it might be possible to experimentally find patterns
>of signals to be sent into specific set of brain cells,
>which would boost this specific creative ability
>for this person... Of course, without the excuse of
>"medical necessity" we might expect more resistance
>from the government agencies...