Bionics and egalitarianism

It sounds like this pretty much works

Bionic eye gives blind man sight

Ron, who has not revealed his surname, told the BBC: “For 30 years I’ve seen absolutely nothing at all, it’s all been black, but now light is coming through. Suddenly to be able to see light again is truly wonderful.

“I can actually sort out white socks, grey socks and black socks.”

“My one ambition at the moment is to be able to go out on a nice, clear evening and be able to pick up the moon.”

Ron’s wife Tracy is also hugely encouraged by the progress he has made.

How the bionic eye works.
She said: “He can do a lot more now than he could before, doing the washing, being able to tell white from a coloured item.

Which is more than an enormous percentage of laundry-doing men in the world seem able to do…

More seriously, it seems that since the nerves are still intact in this guy’s case of retinitis pigmentosa, the implant just replaces the function of the rods and cones.

What’s interesting is the idea that the patients seem to be learning how to “See” again, even though the signals from the implant aren’t very much like the normal signals retinal nerves would get. Which is a crucial point for bionic devices: you don’t have to reproduce the old set of signals exactly, you just have to produce something that the brain can learn to work with.


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