The new BrainPort Vision Pro is a 2nd generation oral electronic vision aid that provides electro-tactile stimulation to aid profoundly blind patients in orientation, mobility, and object recognition as an adjunctive device to other assistive methods such as the white cane or a guide dog.
BrainPort Vision Pro translates digital information from a wearable video camera into gentle electrical stimulation patterns on the surface of the tongue. Users feel moving bubble-like patterns on their tongue which they learn to interpret as the shape, size, location and motion of objects in their environment. Some users have described it as being able to “see with your tongue”.
The BrainPort Vision Pro vision aid is a headset that contains a small video camera, user controls, a rechargeable battery, and the tongue array. The headset is fully adjustable and available in 3 different sizes to accommodate most users.
The camera works in a variety of lighting conditions and has an adjustable field of view. The tongue array contains 394 electrodes and is connected to the headset via a flexible cable so it can’t be dropped and lost. When in use, white pixels from the camera are felt on the tongue as strong stimulation, black pixels as no stimulation, and gray levels as medium levels of stimulation.
The BrainPort Vision Pro is being used by individuals with no usable vision, both congenitally blind and with acquired blindness. Good candidates for using the BrainPort Vision Pro are people that have completed conventional blind rehabilitation training and are comfortable using conventional assistive tools. A non-surgical solution, BrainPort Vision Pro does not affect the eyes. This is important in the event future research offers better alternatives for people who are totally blind.
VRCO is only one of seven locations in the United States which provides a one-hour free demonstration and training on the use of the BrainPort Vision Pro.