[Cyborg] Cyborg Digest, Vol 34, Issue 7

Ben Green benigreen at gmail.com
Wed Jan 18 15:22:18 PST 2012


In V.S. Ramachandran's "Phantoms in the Brain" he talks about how there's a
part of the visual cortex where an array of neurons has a 1-to-1 match with
photoreceptors in the retina.  I don't remember the details, but he talks
about how patients who have hallucinations in their blind spots have (or
may have) activity in this array that originates from the brain instead of
the retina.  I imagine that targeted stimulation of that array is somewhat
harder than taping something onto the optic nerve.  I wonder though if you
could attach a camera to a working optic nerve without disrupting the
person's normal vision.

On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM, <cyborg-request at lists.noisebridge.net>wrote:

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>   1. Camera to brain blindness treatment (Alan Majer)
>   2. Re: Camera to brain blindness treatment (Eric Boyd)
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> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 14:19:59 +0000
> From: Alan Majer <alanmajer at hotmail.com>
> Subject: [Cyborg] Camera to brain blindness treatment
> To: <cyborg at lists.noisebridge.net>
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>
> Interesting TED video on taping the optic nerve to send camera info
> directly to the brain:
> http://www.ideaconnection.com/innovation-videos/345-camera-to-brain-blindness-treatment.html?ref=nl011812
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> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 10:27:32 -0500
> From: Eric Boyd <mrericboyd at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Cyborg] Camera to brain blindness treatment
> To: cyborg at lists.noisebridge.net
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> Wow, moving right along!  The bits are coming for your brain!
>
> I wonder how they actually know what the brain sees?  I mean, she
> presents these mock up images of what the brain sees under each
> treatment option, but it's not so obvious to me how they actually know
> that.  Problem of consciousness and all that.
>
> I also know that while the retina does do some encoding of the signal,
> it doesn't reach the level she talks about at the beginning (this is an
> image of a baby), it's more like edge detection, motion detection,
> contrast & color processing, and other low-level tasks.  Which is why
> it's easily to duplicate with a chip: it doesn't depend on any knowledge
> stored in the brain, it's very algorithmic, and everyones retina
> implements the same thing.  The visual part of the brain (near the back,
> at the other end of the optic nerve) actually does most of the heavy
> lifting in terms of pattern recognition - and it's a much harder thing
> to model, since it does depend on your knowledge of "trees", "cats",
> etc... she also fails to mention that people born blind probably won't
> benefit much from this treatment, since they never developed the visual
> cortex properly.  Getting signals to it would be only the first stage in
> a much more elaborate treatment.
>
> So yeah, in the end, I'm wondering - what did they actually do with the
> animals (or did they test with humans?) to verify their work?  Did they
> do object recognition tests?  Or what?
>
> I found some links, but don't have time to read them today:
>
> http://physiology.med.cornell.edu/faculty/nirenberg/lab/
>
> Maybe someone can read more and chime in with a less fluffy version of
> her presentation?
>
> Eric
>
> On 1/18/12 9:19 AM, Alan Majer wrote:
> > Interesting TED video on taping the optic nerve to send camera info
> > directly to the brain:
> >
> http://www.ideaconnection.com/innovation-videos/345-camera-to-brain-blindness-treatment.html?ref=nl011812
> >
> >
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> End of Cyborg Digest, Vol 34, Issue 7
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