Dr. Stephen Hicks of the University of Oxford has created smart glasses that use simple visual images along with descriptions of nearby signs to help the blind navigate. (Source: Dr. Stephen Hicks/University of Oxford)
it is fascinating how quickly these technologies are moving, Habib. I also am really encouraged by the advancements in curing blindness. Lasik surgery itself seemed like a massive innovaiton but to cure total blindness would be something else entirely!
I remember watching a TED talk sometime back where they were working on the development of a prosthetic eye. When a human eye sees an image, the retina (photoreceptor cells) converts the image into a code in the form of electrical pulses and the brain reads this code and is able to draw the image. Usually in blindness the front end receptor cells lose their function while the optic nerve is still capable of transferring the electrical signals to the brain. So they tried mimicking the function of the retina. They were able to generate the correct electrical pulses from the image but the task that remained was to successfully transferring these signals to the optic nerve. The rapid advancement that is taking place in the medical field, in my opinion, it won't take long before we are successfully able to overcome the problem of blindness.
I forgot to include this link in my previous comment--it's an article I wrote about one of the new artificial retinas that are helping people regain sight: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=268160
I agree, Rob, this is great. I've done some articles on new artificial retina technology that is equally impressive. Technology advancements to cure human limitations or diseases are seriously impressive at the moment. They will one day make a lot of incurable things that plague people now not such a big deal in the future.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
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