Sight without eyes

Wired magazine has lost the zest it purveyed in the early days but it still comes up with some zingers.

"The brain doesn't care where visual input comes from. So why not see with a camera jacked into your tongue?" asks Michael Abrams in the December issue.

The fact is, visual information doesn't have to go through the eyes to get to the brain. Our sense organs are mere input devices--wet USB ports. The basic premise, known as plasticity, is that the brain can adapt to new data channels by rewiring itself. It's a short step from there to sensory augmentation and substitution. New devices are extending pilots' perception of space, giving rudimentary sight to the blind, restoring balance to people whose vestibular systems have failed, even enabling orgasms. "A nerve spike is a nerve spike," says Paul Bach-y-Rita, professor.... "The brain doesn't give a damn where the information is coming from."

Now if you've ever wondered about reality beyond the visible spectrum, seeing with your elbow can really get you twisted.

Why not crank up the brain implants to take in radio waves? Use your head as a phone? See in the dark?

Furthermore, can you trust your eyes? Photographs are now a form of fiction. How about what you see when you peer at your dog? It's confusing world. All bits.


Posted by Jay Cross at November 20, 2002 04:46 AM | TrackBack
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