Device Enables Blind People To “See” With Their Tongue

Device Enables Blind People To “See” With Their Tongue

Brainport is an experimental device that allows a blind person to "see" through their tongue.

Naresh Kumar
  • 16 march 2010

Brainport is an experimental device that allows a blind person to “see” through their tongue. The system uses a minuscule video camera, which captures and translates images into electrical impulses that are experienced on the surface of the user’s tongue.

The Independent explains the working of this device:

An image is captured by a camera mounted on a pair of spectacles and that pixilated image is translated onto an array of electrodes that’s placed on the tongue so something that is darker could be made to tingle more and that sensation on the tongue corresponds to the image that is picked up by the individual and they have to learn what that image actually represents.

The developers of Brainport are planning to further improve the device by upgrading the clarity of the image and shrinking the size of the device.

A user of the device, Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, talks about the Brainport:

“You get lines and shapes of things, it sees in black and white so you get a two dimensional image on your tongue, it’s a bit like a pins and needles sensation.

“It’s only a prototype, but the potential to change my life is massive, it’s got a lot of potential to advance things for blind people.

“One of the things it has enabled me to do is pick up objects straight away, I can reach out and pick them up when before I would be fumbling around to feel for them.”

The Independent: “Tongue device helps blind soldier ‘see'”


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