By Brady Dennis
The Food and Drug Administration approved a device Thursday that it says can help blind people orient themselves by processing visual images using their tongues.
The BrainPort V100, produced by Wisconsin-based Wicab Inc., is a battery-powered device that includes a small video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and a small, lollipop-like mouthpiece with 400 electrodes. When the user holds the “lollipop” to his or her tongue, images gathered by the camera are converted into electrical signals that tingle like champagne bubbles or “Pop Rocks” candy.
“Medical device innovations like this have the potential to help millions of people,” William Maisel, chief scientist at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an announcement about the approval. “It is important we continue advancing device technology to help blind Americans live better, more independent lives.
The technology behind the device has been under development for decades and was first undertaken by the late neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita, a pioneer in the field of neuroplasticity. The device was approved in Europe in 2013 and marketed in Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Its initial price tag was about $10,000, Wicab chief executive Robert Beckmantold a Wisconsin paper at the time……….
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/06/18/fda-approves-device-to-help-blind-people-see-by-using-their-tongues/
Source: Washington Post