Two Amazing Innovations for Persons with Disabilities

Technology can do some amazing things, and today I came across two big stories.

For the first, imagine being both blind and deaf. How incredibly isolating. This glove cannot remove those burdens, but it does allow deafblind people to send and receive text messages, thus permitting communication with people who do not know the intricate signals necessary to communicate with deafblind persons. What a fantastic technology – this is what tech is all about.

(h/t to God and the Machine)

The second story is perhaps even more incredible: the restoration of sight to people who are blind.People are calling it a bionic eye, and, well… IT IS! It’s fantastic. The field of vision restored is miniscule (the size of a CD at arm’s length), but the proof of concept in this experimental implant is mind boggling. The chip turns light into nerve impulses. This is full neural-electronic interface, which, while it has been done before in various contexts, is becoming more and more effective and miniaturized.

In this video a prototype from 2008 is tested:

Now, this technology has potential for weirdness. With modification, the image, for example, could be fed to outsiders, not just the implantee’s optic nerve, so you could literally see through someone else’s eyes (this has been done before with cats). And the reverse, perhaps false signals could be put into the chip, or even messages written directly into neural patterns (talk about a personal text message). And the list could go on and on.

But for now, it is just plain amazing.

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