Feeds

MIT builds seeing machine for the blind

The retina as cinema screen

High performance access to file storage

A researcher at MIT has developed a working prototype of a machine that will help legally blind people to see, Reuters reports.

The inventor, Senior Fellow Elizabeth Goldring, says that the device will help people to read, to see pictures of friends and study other useful documents, such as the layout of buildings.

The prototype, which MIT says will cost around $4000 to manufacture, plugs into a PC and uses light emitting diodes to project images directly onto the retina.

Traditional sight aids work by projecting a video image onto a pair of goggles or onto a video screen. "The advantage of this kind of display is there's no extraneous stuff in your peripheral vision that gets in the way," Goldring, told the Reuters news agency.

The so-called seeing machine was inspired by a scanning laser ophthalmoscope, a $100,000 medical device used to examine the eye. The technology involved in the ophthalmoscope is too expensive to make a device suitable for personal use, so Goldring and her research team spent a decade working on ways to reduce the cost.

The device is a still a long way from being a Geordi La Forge-style visor. At 12 inches by 6 inches by 6 inches, even the generous would not describe it as wearable, and it couldn't be used to navigate an unfamiliar space. But as long as the user has some living retinal cells, he or she should be able to use the machine to see a clear colour image, such as the layout of a room they plan to visit.

Tests on 10 legally blind volunteers found that most could see images and read words when using the device. Goldring now plans to develop a commercial version. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.