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Blind

Bionic vision - ironically, we only have low-resolution images.

Researchers at Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) have produced a prototype version of a bionic eye implant that could be ready to start restoring rudimentary vision to blind people as soon as 2013. The system consists of a pair of glasses with a camera built in, a processor that fits in your pocket, and an ocular implant that sits against the retina at the back of the eye and electronically stimulates the retinal neurons that send visual information to the brain. The resulting visual picture is blocky and low-res at this point, but the technology is bound to improve, and even in its current form it's going to be a major life-changer for those with no vision at all. And the future potential - even for sighted people - is fascinating.  Read More

The hydraulic and latching mechanism concept could allow the development of a full-page, r...

When most of us are surfing the Web we generally do it in much the same way we read a newspaper. We scan the entire page looking for information that interests us before focusing our attention on that area. But imagine if your computer display only allowed you to see one line at a time. Finding that relevant nugget of information suddenly changes from a simple exercise to a time consuming chore. That’s the problem facing blind computer users today who are forced to rely on expensive electronic Braille displays that only show one line of text at a time. Researchers have now developed a concept that could enable a full-page, refreshable Braille display that would allow the blind to take full advantage of the Web and other computer applications.  Read More

The BrailleNote Apex from HumanWare takes advantage of communications technologies and mak...

When you’re busy working or studying, it’s important to maximize the available technology for productivity, accuracy and even comfort. But for blind people, not all technology is easily adaptable. The new BrailleNote Apex from HumanWare has been designed to enhance the reading and writing experience of blind people with improvements over previous models in connectivity, design and ergonomics.  Read More

Touch&Turn cooking system remains cool to the touch and has a user-friendly control panel

Whilst cooking is not exactly a risk-taking activity, the kitchen is not without its hazards - think open flames, red-hot pan handles and spluttering stews. So imagine how difficult preparing and cooking a meal might be for the blind and visually-impaired. A new cooking concept could provide a solution - the Touch&Turn is a cool-to-the-touch cooking pot that sits on a simple, user-friendly control panel and is designed to make cooking an easier and safer experience.  Read More

 The Cyclops mobile robotic platform is designed to be used as a surrogate for blind perso...

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a remote-controlled robot to help test the effectiveness of visual prostheses, such as an artificial retina, which are implanted into visually-impaired patients. Cyclops the robot - or, rather, the mobile robotic platform, or rover - lets scientists “see” the results that human patients could expect without having to test the device on them first. It is hoped that this approach may spare them some unnecessary procedures and one day lead to giving blind people the freedom of independence.  Read More

The BrainPort device helps the blind to 'see' through their tongues

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind - defined by U.S. law as vision that is 20/200 or worse, or have a field of view that is less than 20 degrees in diameter. It is estimated that adult vision loss costs the country about $51.4 billion per year. A new device aims to help restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by using nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain.  Read More

The Blind Driver Challenge aims to put vision impaired people in the drivers seat

Recent technological developments are presenting increasing opportunities for blind and vision impaired people to interact with the world in ways not previously possible. However, many everyday acts we take for granted such as driving a car remain out of reach. That’s well on the way to changing thanks to a development by a team of students at the Virginia Tech University, who have designed a car that allows blind and visually impaired people to take the wheel and drive unassisted.  Read More

Sight through sound - CASBliP prototype

If you’re lucky enough to have perfect eye sight, it is incredibly difficult to imagine what the world is like for a visually impaired person. There have been some astounding breakthroughs in the development of new technologies to assist the blind which aim to replicate the function of the eye, but this project takes a totally different approach. The Cognitive Aid System for Blind People (CASBLiP) uses lasers and digital video images to create a three-dimensional acoustic map which, when relayed through headphones, enables users to "see" the world with sound.  Read More

Contact lenses coated with stem cells could help cure some forms of blindness

The humble contact lens has long been used to improve people’s vision, but now researchers have restored sight in patients suffering corneal damage using a technique where contact lenses are cultured with stem cells. Fast, cheap and non-invasive, the groundbreaking technique even has the potential for regrowing skin and other organs.  Read More

The zebrafish is a popular aquarium species
 Pic credit: Charles Badland, Program in Neuro...

Since the eyes of the zebrafish contain a mosaic of light-sensitive cells whose structure and functions are nearly identical to those of human eyes, their study may help understand the progression of disease and find more effective treatments for blindness. A study of the retinal development of zebrafish larvae by scientists from Florida State Universityand has identified a genetic switch that should shed new light on these molecular mechanisms and, consequently, provide much needed insight on inherited retinal diseases in humans.  Read More

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