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November 22 2012

Implant lets the blind read Braille with their eyes


Blind people could soon be able to read street signs using an implant that translates the alphabet into Braille and beams an image of the Braille directly to visual neurons at the back of the eye.

The implant is a modified version of a class of devices called retinal prostheses, which are used to restore partial sight to people with retinitis pigmentosa. A degenerative eye disease that kills the photoreceptor cells in the retina, RP tends to affect people in early adulthood and can lead to blindness, but leaves intact the neurons that carry visual signals to the brain.

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