The use of neural implants and electrical brain stimulation in the treatment of blindness

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Thu Apr 3 10:07:04 EST 1997


On Wed, 2 Apr 1997 mrblonde at oxford.net wrote:

> I am interested in finding out anything that anyone knows about the topic
> of neural implants and any research that has been done in respects to the
> treatment of blindness.  I know that research on this topic exists but I
> just don't know who or where.  I don't even know the full details about
> the research, I simply know that it exists.  I do know that it involves
> implanting a small computer-chip-like device into the head, which has
> small spikes that deliver electric current to stimulate sight.  Anybody
> knowing anything about this please contact me.

An early experiment on this was reported by Dobelle et al in Nature, 259, 
1976, 111-112 (" 'Braille' reading by a blind volunteer by visual cortex 
stimulation"), and a non-technical update is given in Discover magazine, 
June, 1993, around p. 82. 

Apparently the same group (old address:  H. Dobelle, Neuroprostheses
Program, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of Utah, 19 East
Oakland Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah 84115) is still active. Although I 
don't have any recent references handy, a search on Dobelle's name should 
turn some up, or browsing websites at the University of Utah might be 
rewarding as well.

-Stephen

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Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at ubishops.ca
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                                                                 
Canada                                        
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