Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We live in exponential times

Some fascinating mass-comm factoids worth watching... like how China is the world's biggest English-speaking nation? Or that India has more people with IQ's over 120 than the total population of the USA? Or that a home computer in 2049 will have more computing power than the total human species of 2008?
 Both inspiring and daunting; might leave you feeling a bit small and overwhelmed.

Solar-Powered Bionic Eye?!

It seems we're materializing all our sci-fi movie fantasies these days (I'm still waiting for my hover-board, btw...) - could this technology allow the blind the gift of sight again? Stanford University seems to think so. Although yet to be tested on humans, researchers at Stanford have invented goggles that can send information to chips – which behave like solar cells – implanted into eye retinas. These new retinal implants would require far less invasive surgeries than the limited options that are currently available.
The goggles have a miniature camera embedded in the nose-piece, from which images are sent to a tiny portable computer. In turn, the computer generates the video images that are transmitted into the eyes via infrared lasers inside the goggles’ lenses. The lasers then are reflected onto tiny photovoltaic chips embedded under the retinas, effectively allowing the patient to see hazy images. The device implanted behind the retina is essentially an array of mini solar devices, which use energy from the sun to provide power to the chip as well as to transmit data through the eye to the brain.
This new system is capable of producing vision of 20/200, which is beyond what is considered legally blind, but the researchers reasonable expect to achieve 20/100, which would produce a picture clear enough that a person could recognize faces and read large print.