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Artificial Vision Lets Blind See

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2000
Julie A. Harrell

NEW YORK -- After more than 25 years of total blindness, a 62-year-old retired state worker can discern shapes in black and white, thanks to an artificial vision device developed at the Dobelle Institute Inc.

Many scientists, physicians and engineers worked to develop a visual prosthesis that stimulates the visual cortex with an electrode array. The system converts the signal from a miniature CCD camera mounted on the user's sunglasses into phosphenes -- the perception of points of light -- in the subject's brain.

Founder William H. Dobelle has permanently implanted the electrode arrays in the brains of two blind volunteers. One is living in New York City, navigating the subway system with his Dobelle Eye.


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