Category: Sensors

Wicab Brainport

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: The Wicab BrainPort prototype is designed to assist individuals who are blind or have extremely low vision. The BrainPort device takes information gathered from a small digital camera in a pair of glasses and sends it to a “lollipop” electrode array that sits on the users tongue. The camera then transmits the light information to a small base unit about the size of a cell phone. The base unit then converts the light information into electrical impulses (this replaces the function of the retina). The electrical impulses are sent to a set of 144 microelectrodes arranged on a lollipop-like paddle placed on the users tongue. The microelectrodes then stimulate the nerves on the surface of the tongue. The brain learns to interpret the tongue sensations as a kind of visual image. The base unit features allow the user to adjust the zoom control, light settings control and intensity. During testing users have been able to use the BrainPort device to locate doorways and elevator buttons and even read letters and numbers. At a table, users can easily pick out cups and forks. The BrainPort is expected to be approved for market by the end of 2009 and estimated to cost $10,000 per machine. TITLE: Device Lets the Tongue See. AUTHOR: Bill Christensen. JOURNAL: LiveScience. REF: PAGES: 1 with cover.


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