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Researchers from Wicab a Wisconsin based biomedical company, recently revealed a fascinating new device, they claim will help visually impaired people see everyday things with the help of their tongue!
Dubbed 'Brainport', the device comprises of a small camera that is inserted into a pair of sunglasses, that users wear. The camera sends signals to a small control unit, which converts the image into a black, white and grey picture and sends it to a lollipop-shaped stick, fitted with electrodes.
When the Brainport user places the stick in his/her mouth, they first 'feel' the picture on their tongue. Those signals then get transmitted to the 'visual' parts of the brain, allowing the user to see.
The company says that while it takes a little getting used to, the device works well enough to allow blind people to identify everyday objects and even recognize some letters, which may not be enough to read a book, but enough to read road signs.
The product is currently being tested and if approved, is expected to be available by the end of the year - retailing at about $10,000 USD.