Friday, March 20, 2015

The Blind's Insight on the Brain

Can the blind see? From years before the 21st Century it would've been a ridiculous statement to even ponder upon. However, the technology today permits the unbelievable to happen. Just as the bionic eye allows a man to see through the conversion of images into electrical pulses, the Sensory Substitution Device (SSD), used in the Amedi Lab in the Hebrew University, does the same by converting other senses, such as the sense of feelings and hearings into images that the blind can view.

With practice, the blind would have the opportunity to read words. The discovery led to a question of whether the sudden implementation of sight via a foreign source such as the SSD, would stimulate the same areas in the brain reserved for reading texts for a blind as it does for a normal person. Scientists immediately got to uncovering the problem by using fMRIs to study the brains of the blind people as they utilize the SSD to identify objects through other means like hearing. Scientists discovered that instead of vision identifying the letters, it is actually the responsibility of specialized compartments in the brain that interprets  the recognition of letters.

Written by: Josh Estores 

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