Friday, November 04, 2005

Cyborg Eyeball!

Well, not quite. But it is pretty damn nifty. Via Future Feeder, an implantable miniature telescope has been developed and is in phase two and three trials. That's human volunteer trials.

The device is designed for people with age-related macular degeneration, in which the centre of vision is degraded and only the peripheral vision is left. From the rather scanty information on the website, it looks like it's not anything like a complete cure. You get one telescope implanted in one eye, to give you back some centre-of-field vision. The other eye is left alone to provide peripheral vision (is it damaged in the eye with the telescope?).

This implies an interesting stage somewhere between a disability and a complete cure. I imagine that with so many other small, implantable devices, like cochlear implants for the deaf and camera/brain implant combos to provide a version of sight for the blind, we are entering a new stage.

The rather awkward phrase "differently abled" has been tossed around for some time to describe people who used to be called disabled or handicapped. It might be more appropriate for people in this new middle ground of technology-mediated ability ranges.

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