After a brutal assault that destroyed his optic nerve, Andy was told that he would be blind for the rest of his life. Refusing to accept this fate, Andy searched for help.
That assistance came in the form of a device called BrainPort V100, which is described as a “sensory substitution device.” Basically, the device uses a patient’s tongue to transmit the same information to the brain that his eyes would if they weren’t impaired. It converts video captured from a sunglasses-mounted camera into electric stimulation. With the BrainPort V100, patients feel bubble-like patterns on their tongue, which they’re taught to interpret as the various elements, such as shape and size, of things around them. So, if a patient using BrainPort held a soccer ball, he would feel a round object on his tongue.
The device allowed Andy to see his children’s faces again after five years. Even something as simple as being able to grab his wife’s hand gains new meaning for him, as he can have some element of his old life back. In the video below, watch as Andy has his vision partially restored.