New brain implant lets blind patient see without eyes

Nov 24, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Scientists in Spain have implanted a blind patient that allowed a blind patient to see by directly stimulating her brain’s visual cortex.

The system uses an “artificial retina” attached to a pair of glasses that detects light in front of its wearer, according to New Atlas. The light is then processed into electrical signals and sent to a series of micro-electrodes implanted in the user’s brain, allowing the user to “see” light picked up by the glasses.

The researchers tested the system on a 57-year-old woman who had been completely blind for more than 16 years. During the experiment, she was eventually able to identify shapes and silhouettes detected by the artificial retina — startling progress toward the type of seamless bionic eyes anticipated by sci-fi like “Star Trek.”

“We consistently obtained high-quality recordings from visually deprived neurons and the stimulation parameters remained stable over time,” read a paper about the research published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The authors added that the patient was able to “identify some letters” and even “recognize object boundaries.”

While some might be squeamish about the idea of implanting electrodes in their brains, the team behind the study found that the artificial retina system didn’t affect the area of the brain around the visual cortex and didn’t simulate non-target neurons — suggesting that the system is fairly safe and unobtrusive, or at least as unobtrusive as a brain implant can be. The system also required a relatively low level of electrical activity when compared to other neural implant arrays.

The system was eventually removed from the woman’s brain after six months of use.

Of course, more research is needed before this technology is rolled out on a larger scale. However, early indicators are promising. Between neural implants and gene-editing tech, certain types of blindnesses could soon be done away with for good — at least for those with access to cutting-edge healthcare.

Leong Mun Wai pulled a 'Raeesah Khan' in Parliament on Telegram hearsay

Jan 13, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
On Tuesday (Jan 11), Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Leong Mun Wai claimed that he received feedback from residents, "that some teachers have already practised vaccination diferentiated safe management measures in schools".

When asked by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing to name the schools and teachers involved, Leong backpedalled and said that the feedback was through Whatsapp and that he would need to ask 'his' residents before making a clarification. He later disclosed that the feedback originated from a Telegram group called SG Concerned Parents.

After a terse exchange between Chan and Speaker of the House Tan Chuan Jin, Leong admitted that the chat group messages did not name any particular schools.



Indranee: When you make allegations against teachers and just cast it out there, you must be able to substantiate it

Leong's response drew a rebuke from Leader of the House Indranee Rajah who admonished Leong for making unsubstantiated claims.

Indranee rose and said: "When you make allegations against teachers and just cast it out there, you must be able to substantiate it. And that is why Minister Chan (had) asked, ‘Please provide me with the details of which school and which teacher so that the Ministry of Education can follow up'.”

She described Leong’s explanation on Tuesday as an attempt to “grandstand” or make broad speeches that have no bearing on the details requested by the Education Minister.

Leong Mun Wai another Raeesah Khan?

In August last year, Raeesah shared an anecdote in Parliament about details of a rape case she alleged was mishandled by the police. She later admitted to lying about the anecdote.

In 2014, Workers' Party MP Faisal Manap also made an unsubstantiated claim alleging that when he was a counsellor, he came across a couple who were having housing issues and advised to file for a divorce by the Housing and Development Board — so that the wife would be eligible to buy a house under the Singles Scheme and she could subsequently remarry her husband.

He later apologised for not verifying the authenticity of his anecdote.