Device Helps Blind See With Their Tongue
Wicab, the Middleton, Wisconsin company had developed a device that helps blind see with their tongue. The technology is called the BrainPort, and it doesn’t operate how you might imagine. It turns out the brain doesn’t care how it gets visual information, “The brain is not hardwired. So you don’t have to go, for instance, from the eye through the optic nerve to the brain.” the CEO of Wicab, Bob Beckman, told WTMJ in Milwaukee.
The device basically draws a picture, and he has to figure out what that is. “It takes training, it takes time. Even Kevin is still learning to use the device,” Bob told WTMJ. But once he’s mastered BrainPort it really changes what he can do. In a video provided by Wicab, Kevin throws darts at a target, putts a golf ball, and even stops a rolling ball.
Kevin was part of the clinical trials for BrainPort, which has been used in Europe since 2013. The FDA recently approved it so at the moment Kevin is the only person with this device in the U.S. The cost is $10,000 but the hope is private insurance, medicare, and even the VA will help cover some of this for users of the device. Wicab is currently getting funding from the U.S. Army to help blinded soldiers.
For more information on BrainPort, check out the link below: