Electronic eye – The Blind need not worry anymore

Today science and technology are making advances at an amazing rate. So vast is its impact that people now fear the unthinkable. Technology can more appropriately be termed as a friend of humanity. Inventions are the best ways to serve the mankind. Today we are submerged in the sea of discoveries and inventions. The advantages, the society has received from these science inventions and discoveries are immeasurable. From telephones to the internet, calculators to computers, cars to rockets, we are mere puppets in the hands of this creation of ours. They are  very much a part of our lifestyles.

The recent invention of the Electronic Eye for the blind can have a drastic impact on the lives of the blind. It is downright appreciable for the visually impaired and is the  latest in the high-tech gadgets invented. MIT researchers have come up with a new prototype and are developing a microchip that will enable a blind person to recognize faces and navigate a room without assistance, helping them to regain partial eyesight. Though it won’t completely restore normal vision it will enable the affected to lead a more independent life such as negotiating a room by themselves or walking down a sidewalk and will help them to get used to patterns they come across in their daily lives such as doors, walls, paintings etc. It also recognizes the white stripes of a pedestrian crosswalk and reads traffic lights foretelling a blind person when it’s safe to cross the street.

The chip, which is encased in titanium to prevent water damage, will be implanted onto a patient’s eyeball. Users are required to wear special glasses fitted with a small camera that transmits images to the titanium-encased chip, which fires an electrode array under the retina that stimulates the optic nerve. The glasses will help to power the coils surrounding the eyeball. The research team’s overall goal is to improve the quality of life for the 1.6 million people worldwide who have lost their sight to retinitis pigmentosa and the millions more who are afflicted with macular degeneration, a progressive loss of vision with age. Retinitis pigmentosa or age related macular degeneration, are the two leading causes of blindness. Seeing basic light patterns is a first step toward enabling these sightless people to walk safely in unfamiliar places, such as streets, stores, buses, and trains. After that might come enough vision to recognize faces, even to discern emotional expressions. Finally, it may be possible for the blind to read magnified text.

Vision is one of the most valuable assets of human beings. The loss of vision robs a person of color, beauty and independence. Though a prototype isn’t ready yet and is still under development, future that a blind person is looking for… is not far away. They would no longer feel like they are in the crutches of the handicapped society. All thanks to today’s human brains nothing really seems impossible. Soon we’ll be able to get away with all miseries and lead a life of prosperity and peace if not with our clean souls but our sharp brains that make up to new technologies.

Kritika Malhotra

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