Monday, 29 June 2015

FDA approves novel tongue sensor for the blind

he FDA approved a device that enables blind users to interpret the shape, size, location and motion of objects from patterns of electrical stimulation on the surface of their tongue.
The BrainPort V100 consists of a camera mounted on sunglasses, a hand-held controller and a small, square-shaped sensor with 400 stimulation points that sits atop the surface of the user's tongue.

A clinical trial showed that 69% of 74 subjects were successful at an object recognition test after one year of training with the device.

"People are able to learn to interpret these patterns of bubbles or stimulation on their tongue to know what object is in front of them," CEO of manufacturer Wicab, Robert Beckman, told Bloomberg.  "We don't want to create false hopes," he warned, adding that patients "need to learn the technology and practice with it. It's more akin to learning a new language than it is to ordinary perception."

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