FDA approves new device that lets people "see" with their tongues
A device that lets people with no vision "see" with their tongue has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The device, called the BrainPort V100, consists of a camera attached to a pair of glasses that connect to a tongue sensor. A battery powered hand-held unit houses the user controls and battery.
The device works by translating visual information into a series of vibrations that can be felt on the tongue. White pixels from the camera are felt on the tongue as strong simulation; gray as medium stimulation, and black as no stimulation. Users must undergo extensive supervised training to learn how to use the device and interpret the vibrations but those that do face a 69% chance of identifying an object after using the device for a year. The device is expensive - roughly $10,000 per unit - but will hopefully pave the way for other sensory substation devices to hit the market too.