Wicab has developed an amazing product called the BrainPort V100. It’s a high tech name for a high tech device!
The gadget assists visually impaired individuals to “see” things in a whole new way. It has a small video recorder that is attached to a pair of sunglasses. The camera takes in visual information and translates it to electrical impulses which are transferred to the individual through a “lollipop-type” mouth piece. The mouthpiece has almost 400 electrodes which create patterns to be decoded.
Once adjusted and able to interpret the data, users can distinguish the size, speed, location and direction of moving objects. Of the 74 subjects who tested BrainPort V100, 69% of them reported success. Success, meaning, they were able to correctly identify objects in recognition tests!
Some people experienced a “burning, stinging or metallic taste” from the mouthpiece however the US FDA (who approved the device on Thursday) assure that there are “no serious device-related adverse events”.
Wicab clarifies that the BrainPort V100, while it can be very effective, is best used in conjunction with other visual aids such as guide dogs and sticks. The device is battery operated and can reportedly run for hours on a single charge making it a great tool for going out and about.
In 2013, after 15 years of research, BrainPort V100 became available for purchase in Europe. Between then and now it has also been marketed in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Italy for $10, 000. After a lot of time and hard work, BrainPort V100 can now also be purchased in the U.S.
William Maisel is the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health chief scientist. He raves about the gadget stating:
“Medical device innovations like this have the potential to help millions of people (…) It is important we continue advancing device technology to help blind Americans live better, more independent lives.”