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Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LiveScience.com - Machine Offers Sight to Some Blind People

The project started 10 years ago when, to determine if Goldring had any healthy retina left, her doctors sent her to the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard. Technicians there used a diagnostic device called a scanning laser opthamaloscope, or SLO, to look into her eyes.

The SLO projected a simple image of a stick-figure turtle past the hemorrhages inside her left eye that contributed to her blindness and directly onto the retina of one eye. She could see the turtle, but wanted more, and asked the technicians to project the word "sun."

"And I could see it," Goldring said. "That was the first time in several months that I'd seen a word, and for a poet that's an incredible feeling."

Since then, Goldring has been working with other vision researchers and engineers to transform the $100,000 SLO into a more affordable machine. So far, by dumping some of the diagnostic equipment and replacing expensive lasers with cheaper light emitting diodes (LEDs), they have knocked the price down to $4,000.
This is inline with other advances initially used for those with disabilities.

I'd like to use something like this to have immersive virtual reality or hybrid reality where images are overlaid onto the real world, either utilitarian or aesthetic.


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