Researchers have gone from a 4×4 grid (16 ‘pixels’) in 2004 up to a 60-electrode version that was implanted in two men recently. While not quite in Geordi Laforge territory, it’s a big step up from complete blindness. After enough practice, the earlier patients were able to distinguish between eating implements at a dinner table, so it’ll be interesting to see what these guys can do. The 3rd generation will be designed with about 600 electrodes, and they’re hoping that patients will be able to read.
A camera built into a pair of glasses connects to a processing pack that is carried or clipped onto the belt. This then beams the image into the retina, turning on electrodes and stimulating the eye. So far, this will only work for people who have lost vision, not for people who were born blind.
While Paul’s the normal go-to guy for body hacks, I thought I’d share one I came across. In my book it’s not quite as cool as having a touch screen implanted, but some of you may like this more. It’s also a good lesson on how our bodies don’t always appreciate having odd things stuffed into them.
A Canadian tattoo artist had a cowgirl inked on his calf, and last year decided she needed to look a little more 3D, so he got a surgeon friend to implant two small silicon implants into her breasts. Unfortunately, they were rejected and he took it upon himself to perform a bit of self-surgery, which went about as well as you would expect. The artist says about 20% of people reject implants, but he doesn’t mention the upside, which is that up to 80% of the population could be wandering around with 3D dragon tattoos with horn implants. Just try putting a shirt on properly with one of those.
How many of you would get implants to *ahem* augment your cowgirl?
(via Scienceblog Aetiology) (image from canoe.ca)