Camera Device Could Aid Blind People

by admin on December 18, 2014

Much research has been conducted lately into technological usage of microchips and surgical procedures to help those suffering from many forms of blindness into gaining partial sight through prosthetic devices which mimic eye function, but researchers in America believe they have discovered a way to ‘trick’ the brain into producing visual images in around 40 million of those globally with loss of sight.

camera devices

Bending the biological laws of brain imagery

At present, it is only possible for able sighted people to produce pictures in their minds from personal life experiences they have physically seen, as the brain has to respond to the visual cues to make any kind of imagery in the mind possible. This is the primary reason why those who have been blind their whole life aren’t capable even of dreaming, as the brain has no visual stimulus of which to provide the alternate world we experience as we sleep.

The study conducted is still ongoing under the guidance of professor Michael Beauchamp, Ph.D., of The University of Texas Health Science Centre, alongside associate professor Daniel Yoshor, each with combined knowledge in neurobiology and neurosurgery respectively. The research has been elaborately named ‘Electrocorticography links human temporoparietal junction to visual perception’, and consists of manipulating the brain’s powerful image-generating ability via a neural mechanism to help those who are blind to visualise images in their minds after bypassing certain processes existing in humans with correct visual capacity.

How it Works

The device used on three volunteer patients with epilepsy aged between 18 to 47 is known as a ‘visual prosthetic’, essentially a webcam device attached to conventional eyeglasses which relays visual information captured within to a chip implanted in the brain, essentially bypassing the need for a working eye.

At present much work is required to truly figure out the relationship between brain activity and visual cues, with the stimulated illusion of a flash of light currently being transmitted only providing minimal image response, while in the future it is hoped heightened stimulation of the occipital lobe at the back of the brain which is responsible for mental imagery, will be able to perceive more advanced images, even if they are not actually there.

Beauchamp stated: “While much work remains to be done, the possibilities are exciting. This new study is a step toward our goal of better understanding visual perception, so we are better able to make a useful visual prosthetic”

More expansive trials are to be carried out, with the goal of creating more flashes of light by activating key areas of the brain, providing more useful images to those undergoing the procedure perhaps in the future.

Jamie blogs about vision for leading prescription spectacles online provider Direct Sight.

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Back To School Technology

by admin on December 18, 2014

Advanced technology has become a normal way of life for us. I remember when I was at school nobody had mobile phones or laptops, and tablet PCs weren’t even an idea on the horizon. Todays children leave home for their first day of school with their school bags brimming with the latest tech, some useful and some a teacher’s nightmare, often ending in confiscation until the end of the school day.

As the new school year begins and with the latest technology available, teachers are going to have their hands full with children pulling out the latest gadgets during class time.

Laptop Computers

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Most children and teenagers these days have a laptop. From cute Disney computers to the latest notebook, these are lightweight and can easily be popped in a school bag for during the day. With Wi-Fi functionality, it means that these laptops can be used for noting down things rather than writing down class notes on a note pad, which has been the normal way for so many years.

This type of gadget is the way of the future and schools are going to have to start accepting technology as a new learning tool. Many teachers are gradually beginning to find these gadgets can be used well in an educational context but are also at the same time hoping they do not become too much of a distraction for students.

Tablet PCs/iPads

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iPads and tablet PCs have become an acceptable gadget in many places of work, and now with the start of the school year they are the new trendy must have tech for students. Even though these are very expensive gadgets, more children than ever will be heading off to school with their Wi-Fi enabled tablets in their bags. While these can be useful in the school environment when taking notes, they can also very obviously be detrimental. With tablets having 3G and 4G capabilities, children will be able to browse the internet and chat to their friends on social networks while in class and this will have to be closely monitored by the teaching staff.

Smart Phones

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From the latest Apple 4 to the new Samsung S3, more children will be arriving at school this year with smart phones. These phones give them phone call functionality, which is useful for parents to get in touch with them in emergencies (or just to know where they are!) but they are also able to access the internet, meaning they could be easily distracted as they will be communicating with friends rather than concentrating on educating themselves.

IPods and MP3 Players

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When was the last time you saw a teenager walking down the street without headphones strapped to their heads? These gadgets have become an accepted part of any child’s day, and have the ability to download and listen to music on the go. From the smallest iPod to the best MP4 players, you can expect to see them all around the schools this year.

Nintendo DS

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While these gaming consoles do not assist children with their school work, there are learning games available which can help children with problem solving skills, concentration skills and social skills. These games can be played through a Wi-Fi system, enabling children to play against each other using their own Nintendo DS consoles.

PSP

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The latest PSP is the newest gadget for any child, with gaming functions and the ability to instant message friends, update social media accounts, these gadgets will be roaming the halls with the children this year.

Memory Watches

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Another gadget which is increasing in popularity is the memory watches which offer children the ability to download information off the internet directly onto their watches, much like a USB stick. Keeping track of the time in a classroom has never been easier in the digital world and in addition these digital watches are stylish in design and less boring than looking at a school wall clock. The memory watch is also an ideal gadget for transferring documents, ensuring the child is always up to date with the latest schooling information. It may be worth the investment.

Foldable Bicycles

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For children who ride a bicycle to school or use their skate board to get to school, the foldable bicycle is the latest in design technology competeing with the regular means of transport. Lightweight in design, these bicycles fold up easily enabling the child to store them with ease when they arrive at school or home without any hassle, which means less fussing around before and after the school bell goes.

Many thanks to Alfie at Ladbrokes Games Online for putting together this article.

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