A new brain implant at UCLA is helping blind people see light patterns they were never able to see before.Jason Esterhuizen lost his eyes after a car crash seven years ago.He is one of the first recipients of an implant that lets him see patterns of light, which he can interpret as the world in front of him.
He said in a statement, “Now I can do things that I couldn’t do before.”
The 30 year old moved from his home in South Africa to Los Angeles to participate in the trial at UCLA.
He says he can now, “sort the laundry, find my way in lighted hallways without using a cane and cross the street more safely. It’s making my life much easier.”
The University says the device is geared to people who used to be able to see but lost their vision to injury or disease. While it doesn’t provide normal sight, it does enhance users’ ability to navigate the world by restoring their capacity to detect movement and distinguish light and dark.
Designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a “Breakthrough Device,” the system wirelessly converts images captured by a tiny video camera mounted on sunglasses into a series of electrical pulses. The pulses stimulate a set of 60 electrodes implanted on top of the brain’s visual cortex, which perceives patterns of light and interprets them as visual clues.