BrainPort Allows Blind Man to See With His Tongue

Contributing Writer
Updated

In 2007, 24-year-old L/Cpl Craig Lundberg was blinded by a rocket propelled grenade in Iraq while serving with the King's Regiment. Roughly three years later, he can "see" again thanks to a device called the BrainPort. Now his tongue serves as his news eyes.

BBC News reports that the BrainPort incorporates a miniature camera-- attached to a pair of glasses-- that converts visual images into a series of electrical pulses. These pulses are then sent directly to L/Cpl Lundberg's tongue, giving off a "pins and needles" sensation via a lollipop-shaped device connected to the camera.

According to L/Cpl Lundberg, it feels like "licking a nine volt battery, or like popping candy," referring to Pop Rocks or other carbonated candy. "You get lines and shapes of things, it sees in black and white so you get a two dimensional image on your tongue," he said.

Currently the BrainPort is merely a prototype, however L/Cpl Lundberg seemed grateful that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) selected him for the trial. Knowing its current limitations, he's optomistic about what the device can do in later stages of development.

So far, the BrainPort has already changed his life. "One of the things it has enabled me to do is pick up objects straight away, I can reach out and pick them up when before I would be fumbling around to feel for them," he said.