Originally posted by apathist
Wonderful application of technology!
I was wondering about people blind from birth: would restoring their vision ever really allow them to see? I found a short ScienceBlogs article (http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2008/11/11/can-a-blind-person-whose-visio/) about a 12-yo blind from birth, although she could determine night from day (so her neuron ...[text shortened]... using sight, and at least seven years later there were still odd hiccups in her vision ability.
That sounds reasonable since the brain had not had visual input so the cells usually reserved for vision were used for other things and the vision paths had to be started up from scratch.
There was a great american folk singer, Doc Watson, RIP, who was blind from the age of about 4. Now a person like that, if they had technological solutions for his vision, he would have been a lot ahead of someone who had been blind from birth. He had 4 years of vision so his visual cortex was being developed. Obviously, if someone like him had been blind for 50 years after the age of 4, a lot of those cells would have been diverted to other senses like hearing but he would have been ahead of someone using the same technology as someone blind from birth and getting the same technology.
It is also clear this is just a proof of concept, the resolution is very low and it was clearly hard for the dude to make out the braille but as time goes by this technology will get better and better and you might end up like that guy on Star Trek, the one with the wrap around glasses that let him see more or less normally.
Science is catching up with science fiction.