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Stevie Wonder to Implant Eye Chip?

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the wouldn't-that-be-interesting dept.

Science 198

chocko sent us an article about Stevie Wonder's Eye Chip. Now normally a Stevie Wonder story probably wouldn't make it on Slashdot, but this is actually about him implanting a chip into his eye in order to try to gain some of his sight back. I just thought that was kinda cool. Update: 12/04 12:02 by H :Thanks to Chris Griffin for updating the story.

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2048 x 1024 resolution - no monitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481555)

Chip in the eye. Plug me into my computer. Great resolution, no desk space, no problem on the plane with the person in front of you reclining. No need for a boss screen display.

Injured geek wins against Mattel, Mattel still retaliates! []

Re:I'm all for it but.. (1)

cheez (87861) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481556)

There is a move out on video with Val Kilmer sp?. The story is about a guy who could see as a child but lost his sight due to an illness. He under went surgery and regained his sight, but it was very tough on him. It was not as simple as returning his sight, his brain had to learn how to interperate the signals. In the credits after the movie it stated the movie was based on a true story and the guy is currently living in the Atlanta area. If any one knows the title please post it so others can watch it. It could parallel what Stevie might go through.

read the CNN article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481557)

the chip is coming out as said in the CNN article

Sweet enola gay... (1)

Field Marshall Stack (58180) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481568)

...this post has been up how long? And we've yet to see a reference to Geordi LaForge?

dsfkldsafadskljhdsflhsa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481569)

will wonders never cease?

Eye chip? (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481570)

I trust my eye chip to Linux, as well as my ass chip [] .

Re:It's not the same... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481571)

Actually, I haven't heard it yet. Tell us.

Another, fairly informative article (4)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481572)

Thanks to BBC News Online, here [] .

Apparently the system only has 25 pixels - presumably in a 5x5 square. While such 'vision' will be a vast improvement over nothing, it sounds like the system is still in its early stages and is nowhere near mimicing conventional sight. It's a bit like the early cochlear implants in a way.

Re:I know another candidate for this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481573)

That's right. Now he can see the stuff he's bumping into and tripping over.

Re:I'm all for it but.. (3)

Duke of URL (10219) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481574)

There was a guy who had corneal replacement when he was middle aged. He could see when he was very young, but lost his sight later. So they did the corneal transplant and he could see, but it wasen't all perfect. His depth perception was ALL messed up. At the hospital on the 5th floor or higher he looked out the window and was asked what the distance was. He said "not far" remarking that he thought he could touch the ground with his hand. Soo the brain had to readjust. Eventually this guy (mabye not same guy movie is based off of) got really depressed. He sat in his house and was disgusted with how disorderly and dirty everything was. He had envisioned it all being perfect while being blind. He eventually committed suicide.

I really hope Stevie Wonder's procedure works well and that he regains some sight. Good luck and God bless dude.

Re:I know another candidate for this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481575)

Why stumble blindly when you can stumble insightfully?

Re:It'd be nice, but.. (2)

Duke of URL (10219) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481576)

Stevie Wonder has a condition called Retinitis_pigmentosa. More info on the condition can be found here [] .

Its a condition that affects the retina, the back of the eye where the optical nerves lie.

Here's [] some more info and a picture of an affected retina.

"Normally a Stevie Wonder Story Wouldn't Make It" (2)

Uche (6766) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481577)

What in the bloody blue buggering blazes does CmdrTaco mean by this comment? Did I miss something that relegates to pariah status one of the strongest singers the 20th century has produced, and one who has overcome so many obvious travails?

Now normally I wouldn't expect any story about musicians to be regular fare for /., but every now and then we get some silly story about some yahoo DJ Shadow or some moonie from the Who or some other band, and there is no such inane put-down.

De gustibus non est disputandem and all that, but remember that it's hard to narrow down any aspect of the /. crowd, least of all musical tastes.



It's not the same... (2)

DannyGene (31846) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481581)

This just wouldn't be the same world with a Stevie Wonder who can see...We can't make the "Have you seen Stevie Wonder's new piano..." joke anymore!

Bionic? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481584)

What happend to the word "bionic" is it politically incorrect and I am just out of it?

Chip in his eye sounds like a cross of "Chip on his shoulder" and "Plank/speck in his eye."

Intestesting... (1)

Anarchos (122228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481586)

but I'd really like some more info., like an in-depth analysis of how the optical system works; especially how it interfaces with the optic nerve.

Stevie's pretty tech friendly... (2)

Analog (564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481588)

He was the one of the first guys to pick up on some of Ray Kurzweil's toys, including his text reader and the first digital sampling synth.

I'm not sure I'd want to try this, but I'm not surprised he is.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481590)

You mean there was a time when Stevie Wonder
wasn't blind? How 'bout that? I just assumed
that he had always been blind. Mark me offtopic.

I know another candidate for this. (3)

Gleepy (16226) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481592)

She could not have the surgery done on account of not having the Big Bucks for the procedure. Medicaid in NY will not cover experimental procedures like these.

I think the implant design has something to do with stimulating the optical nerve in a manner opposite of a CCD. I'm not sure about colors being visible, but I am sure for a blind person that even seeing objects in monochrome is a blessing indeed. They will still not be able to drive a car, but they may enjoy a greater standard of independent living.

I'm all for it but.. (3)

iKev (73931) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481594)

I'm worried that since he was not born w/ sight (at least I think), how would he react ? Vision would be so alien to him, that I don't know if he could adapt to it at his age. The brain hard-wires most of its connections early in life, with decreasing plasticity as the years go by..

Star Trek? (2)

MrPlab (79403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481595)

How come I can only think of one quote when I think of this actually happening with Stevie.

"Mr. Laforge to the bridge"

Nothing against him, but if he wears anything like in Star Trek, I'm going to start wearing a lead apron around town.

With Star Trek issues,

Link to another Story on CNN about this (1)

BradyB (52090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481596)

This story goes a lot more in depth. Click here [] The one on Zdnet was only a few sentences. This one is a lot longer trust me.

The story as I recall (1)

yet another coward (510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481597)

Stevie Wonder, born Stevland Morris, was a premature baby. Medical treatment in those early days left him blind. I believe in involved oxygen exposure, but it may have been light exposure or something else.

Stevie (1)

duder (86761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481598)

let me take you down because I am going to
strawberry fields nothing is real

and stevie wonder and see there it is a place where you can never understand

Don't listen, it's a conspiracy! (1)

XJoshX (103447) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481599)

As the article says, Mr. Wonder is haveing an chip placed in his eye. What it doesn't say is that hundreds more will soon follow. Mr. Wonder will soon have the largest Beowulf cluster in human history. This will lead to a his quick mutiny of the wolrds governing bodies He''ll be able to monitor everyones CD players and tell what they His dictatorship will rise to stop all those who don't like his music!!!
This, however, is not what worries me.
After he conquers the world he'll appoint Kathy Lee Gifford as his vice dictator...
Be afraid, be very afraid....

It appears not... (1)

mduell (72367) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481600)

I saw on TV that hey have decided tyhat he is NOT a good canidate for the surgery... Some other guy is gonna get it...

offtopic (1)

cheese63 (74259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481601)

what does IIRC stand for? I apologize in advance for my ignorace of 4 letter acronyms.

Re:Another, fairly informative article (1)

mduell (72367) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481602)

I think the human eye is 5000x5000 pixels per eye so it definately has a LONG way to go...

good for him (1)

.seckzi. (122272) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481603)

he can finally join the world of the seeing! :P i dont know how he's gonna react, but its going to be a huge shock to him to see what he looks like and what other people look like! maybe he can see what he's playing now.

Re:I know another candidate for this. (1)

krisitna (75788) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481604)

Wow! So this is actually an existing technology? (I wasn't sure if I should believe the article) A microchip implant in the eye to restore eyesight... sounds pretty freaky to me. Then again, he doesn't have anything to loose.

Does anybody know how much this operation cost??? If simple laser surgery is $1500/eye, this must be in the $15K/eye or something.

Re:offtopic (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481615)

IIRC = if I recall correctly

Re:This is good (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481616)

My second concern is that we will have people with good eyesight getting chips put in to get better eyesight. I don't want to see the age where we all are computerized people.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. :-)

On a more serious note, while this would be good stuff for the handicapped, it has the potential to be abused. It'd kinda be like cosmetic don't really need it, but some people aren't happy with what they're born with, or something along those lines.

what if your eye or arm shorts out for some reason

It'd give BSOD a whole new meaning. :-)

Unfortunately (1)

JeffI (87909) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481617)

A great procedure that I am sure, although apparently attempted on 15 other people. (and I am not sure about the success rate). I heard that Stevie Wonder's sight was tooo far damaged for this procedure... unfortunate for him.

The 1st thing Stevie says when he regains sight -- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481618)

Looking at a video of himself-- "Damn! Why didn't you tell me I swung my head around like a fool"

Re:The story as I recall (1)

ddpg (34874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481619)

It was probably lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen in premature babies is known to cause blindness or retinal detachment later on in life.

Not at all (3)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481620)

I want to be able to see into Infra-red. I hope they design upgradibility into the cybernetic products though, so I can move to the latest model on a regular basis. It'd be a drag to upgrade to infrared now and then not be able to upgrade to 4D accelerated HDvision later.

Re:How could they know whether it worked? (1)

I_redwolf (51890) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481621)

Actually he did have eyesight at an early age. He wasn't born blind. Hrmm I forget when he lost it.. I believe it was around 2 or 5 or something but he did have eyesight at one point

Re:The 1st thing Stevie says when he regains sight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481622)

well THAT was in poor taste, and NOT funny either.

The chip doesn't stay in. (3)

pb (1020) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481623)

A lot of people have missed this, but if you look at the link in the other article, the chip doesn't stay in.

It isn't some kind of artificial vision replacement. Rather, AFAICT, it just stimulates the nerves to the point where they remember how to see again. Then the chip is removed.

Sorry. No Star Trek story here. You can go.

(however, the Star Trek technology might be next. I seem to remember a story about constructing an image by reading the neurons in a cat, or something. It worked, but the picture was lower res.

I think it'd be awesome if I could replace or add, say, a thermal view of my surroundings, or a clock... It'd involve being able to add, replace or superimpose "images" in the stream of data from the eyes to the brain. Of course, goggles would be a *lot* easier. :)
pb Reply or e-mail rather than vaguely moderate [] .

stevie not mentioned in slashdot? (2)

bortbox (77540) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481634)

Woa! Stevie Wonder has been a KEY PLAYER in the development of sound and music technology. First of all is anyone knows anything about midi or sampling, you owe most of the modern wonders of sampled waveforms to Stevie. He has thrown money into wonderful projects such as the Kurzweil line of keyboards, as well as giving money to several start up companies that eventually failed, but whose engineers went on to pioneer the soundest for the Amiga, Advanced Logic Audio, and a dozen other top plays in the multimedia and music production field. His contributions in the development of synthesizers and college aged dreamers are to be commended. I don't have proper links off hand (at work) but I can easily obtain stories upon stories of advancements made as a direct result of his ideas as well as the amount of money he gave/lent to tinker's.

Just thought I would throw a line out there for those who don't know, and personally I don't care much for his music.


Re:This is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481635)

yep, look at the mars Global Polar lander, very reliable equipment...

Ping.... timeout.... 100% packet loss.

Not to mention the Climate Orbiter.

Theres $250,000,000 down the toilet.
Perhaps MS with IBM and HP can make their own , IT_SPACE_CORP, and launch 10 missions a year and sell all the results and make a profit faster than nasa can.

upside down (2)

mattdm (1931) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481636)

Actually, we all see everything upside down. Our brain just flips it back around when it goes to form a mental, um, picture of what you're seeing. The brain is amazing in its ability to cope with things like this. I remember reading about an experiment in which the subjects wore glasses that flipped the world upside down; after a while, their brains had corrected and the world appeared rightside-up.


Re:I'm all for it but.. (1)

DanJose52 (55815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481637)

That movie is called "At First Sight" it's pretty good...especially as a date movie. It doesn't seem as Hollywoodized as most "true story" films,'s just good.


Re:Another, fairly informative article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481638)

How crap!

Id rather have ACcoustic response echos , like a dolphin, with pings.

100x100 is min that they should make.

Re:The 1st thing Stevie says when he regains sight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481639)

"You mean im black!?!?!?!"

"God damn I can go to nudy bars now."

Current Use of Chip (1)

Krypton36 (117795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481640)

From all that I have read, everything I could find, the chip's use is focused on people who slowly lost vision due to disease. Stevie has been blind from birth, therefore, implanting the chip on his retina would be against the norm for what the researchers are testing.

Background on Stevie Wonder (1)

yet another coward (510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481641)

I think this Yahoo! article gives a good overview of his background, including his blindness.

Stevie Wonder at Yahoo! []

Nanotech Face-off (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481642)

I just returned from watching the movie Face-off starring Cage and Travolta at a friend's house. I find this fairly fitting for this article.

For those of you who haven't seen this acting masterpiece - you should. Both the lead actors preform to their utmost, acting off of each other better than I've seen either act independantly. But besides that, the movie demonstrates some biogenic nanotech. (If you don't want to know what happens, skip to next paragraph.) The characters played by Trivolta and Cage have their faces (skin, etc) removed and put on the other. One is a cop, and is having it done to protect LA. The other is a criminal, and planted a bomb in LA. The plot thickens.

Basically, the cop gets fairly screwed over due to this technology. His family gets the blunt end of the stick, and he gets to spend some high quality time in a high security prision, amongst other things. The whole ordeal backfires into the face of the Good Guy (tm).

My point is, there is extreme danger behind any proposed good technology. I'd love to see nanotech and nanotech related technology used for medacine - or for anything, really.

Think about it! Say upi were tp get a small chip installed in your eye. Say you have 80/20, astigmatism, and a binocularity problem. (me). This chip, in combination with laser surgery in your retina, could allow you to not only see better than you would with perfect vision, but you could also have supernatural visual abilities, so to speak. You may not even need the laser surgery. Just a chip. A small chip about the size of a dime (that's kinda large, actually) planted in your face, maybe in your nasal cavity or somewhere that it would be easily maintained. (comparatively). In a couple years, it could have IR and even night vision - for the right price. The ability to zoom in on anything would be an obvious feature. Imagine being able to see for miles with the acuity of looking at your own hands.

Add in a little additional processing power and programming, and you'd be able to possibly view things as an entire object, increasing your visual perseption tenfold. No longer would you have to focus on a single object. Your peripheral vision could have just as much acuity as what you're looking directly at. Items at different distances would not be "out of focus" because they are not what you are looking at directly.

Yeah, there's evil out there - more and more each day. But there's also countless Good that can be done. The people with not-so-honest intents will get ahold of the technology eventually - most likely through the labs of a country like China or that of the lovely Saddam. We might as well get this technology into the hands of Those Who Do Good ASAP so that we can get as much good done before evil takes a chance. Besides, nanotech is fun.

Crap. I just typed a lot for 2am Saturday. Woohoo!


Jorde Wonder or Stevie LaForge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481643)

Will he get an implant or just wear a banana comb across his eyes?

Re:This is good (1)

AndyL (89715) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481644)

I'd consider upgrading to a retna the could see IR if I could do it without losing resolution.

Re:Aaaaaa!!!!!! I'm black!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481645)

I dont think that a ccd camera with each pixel connected to a nerve in the optic cord would work because your retina actualy has done a bunch of computation before the image is passed on. Your eye actualy finds edges at different orientations and light areas surrounded by dark areas. It does more than that, but I dont have any examples to give. If you could do those computations and then feed the resulting signal to the brain you would have a much better chance of it learning to see again. An interesing thing to note here is that there is a wavelett (I think called the Marr wavelet) that apparently maps directly to neuron activation in the brain. That is, given an image the human brain reacts with the same activation levels that you get when you process the image with this wavelet. This is not a complete coincidence though. The reseacher that figured out this wavelet first looked at some of the properties of the human retina and tried to keep them in mind while also satisfying the selfsimilarity and other requirements for a wavelet. Its definitely getting interesting though. What with the recent slashdot article on direct neural recording and subsequent control over the cursor position.

Re:offtopic (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481646)

Or "if I remember correctly"

Re:Aaaaaa!!!!!! I'm black!!!!!! (1)

valdemar (21900) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481647)

Oh now thats just getting anoying, I know I was logged in when I started writing that post, but by the time I posted the message about the wavelets and what our retina does /. thought I was an AC... Hrumf.

Re:The chip doesn't stay in. (2)

RobSweeney (19353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481663)

This hit about a month and a half ago, from a widely publicised article in the Journal of Neuroscience. Here's [] Wired's article; a bit more technical is this abstract [] , complete with a few pretty pictures (I love Google). I'm sure Slashdot picked it up too.

One neat thing is that research hits published journals often years after the experiments were performed. I'm sure things have progressed much since the cat experiements were done.

Re:This is good (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481664)

I had no idea that we could make the blind see again with a microchip!
Correction: The rich blind.

Stevie was not born blind. (1)

rizzo (21697) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481665)

He has been blind since a young age, however. I wonder how much he remembers seeing...

Re:upside down (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481666)

IIRC, babies see the world upside-down for a very short while, before their brain adjusts. I was not aware of the flipping glasses experiment, however. VERY interesting.

Article from Johns Hopkins (1)

margaret (79092) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481667)

There is an article [] about it in the latest issue of the alumni magazine from Johns Hopkins (my alma mater :-) Doesn't mention Stevie though...

I was going to submit it, but this guy beat me to it. Sounds very star-trekky, doesn't it?


Sign of things to come in a real long time... (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481668)

These chips work by stimulating the optic nerves that are left in the eye. This technology will probably never be an upgrade. Think 640 X 480 resolution for your everyday sight. Making a new interface to the brain on the other hand...

sense of smell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481669)

Due to a head injury from a car accident, Stevie doesn't have a sense of smell either. This happened during the early-mid 1970s. CmdrTaco, please give more respect to talented people like Stevie.

Re:Stevie (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481671)

I always thought that Strawberry Fields was a Beatles song...

Tech Standards (1)

xlr82xs (5383) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481674)

Ok, i noticed noone else has mentioned this before, but is the surgery he is undergoing classed as "exparamental research and data collection" ? cause if its not and its simply testing a prototype or installing a working version, why is he getting military grade tech ?
as far as i know (and i'm into this stuff so i try to keep up with it) the only organisation to have a working prototype capable of showing more than 8 blocks by 8 blocks in 4 colours is the militry for their urban attack and counter terrorest project...

comments/corrections ?

IIRC.. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481675)

If I recall correctly. I had been meaning to look this up, and then it suddenly hit me. I think I figured it out today or yesterday, IIRC.

The subject (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481683)

I would have thought the subject should have been something like "it's a wonder!" ... oh well, to corny i suppose ;-)

Stevie wonders new work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481684)

I dunno about you guys, but i just don't get stevie wonders new track. What exactly is he trying to do with this? /pimpdaddywelfareelmoaintyoaveragenza.mp3

Aaaaaa!!!!!! I'm black!!!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481685)

Meant in a lighthearted sense, really (but will probably see flames anyway). I wish him the best. Is he the first to try this as I have never heard of anything like this before? Stuff like this has been done for hearing which is far less complex than vision. I wonder... if a ccd was hooked to an eyeball with each pixel going to a single nerve in the optic nerve, could the brain be able to "learn" how to form a proper image? This is how neural nets learn right?

Specs? (2)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481686)

It's really too bad that they didn't put any of the specifications of the implant in the article. I was actually kinda disappointed, that more attention (or at least keystrokes) wasn't paid to the article.
Not that I expect this, but if anybody out there knows anything more about this story, or has another source that we can check out, perhaps with a little more detail, I'd be happy to see it.

Seems to me, that in order for it to be journalism, one should actually investigate it a little bit. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh.

...subject... (2)

BradyB (52090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481688)

Hasn't he always been blind? I don't pay too much attention to him, but I thought he's always been blind, well since a little while after birth. I think it would be good for him to see again, I just think it would be a total shock for someone who has no recollection of seeing the world to suddenly have some site.

A little more info would be nice. (1)

Enzondio (110173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481689)

I wish there had been some more info in that article. I remember reading something similar to this about a year ago but they said it was EXTREMELY experimental, they were only able to get this guy to be able to see basic shapes, and that was all generated by a computer, fed the signal directly to the chip which then stimulated the optic nerve. I wonder if this is the same technology because in the article I read it said it was years and years off. If anyone knows of a place to get some more info on this please post the URL

Sign of things to come.. (4)

xtal (49134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481692)

This is great news for all of us, even the perfect sighted. I think that one of the obstacles to development in these arenas is that the people with the expertise in one field - imaging, robotics - are rarely trained in the fields of medicine. Biomedical Engineering has the potential for many great things, and I think we're just beginning to see what can be achieved when we start engineering our bodies.

Unless people start freaking out about "unnatural" modifications, of course. I am a little worried about that laws that will start to happen when this tech gets more advanced - it's very, very, very primitive right now - how about when you could get enhanced vision? Or strain-free screens to read off of? (via a direct digital connection!)

Sound far fetched? Maybe, but then again, we were all using gopher 6 years ago.

Not going to happen, you say? Icky? Maybe. Someone that's got modifications will have a _competitive advantage_ over you, and might learn better, or faster, or be able to do more.

Welcome to the borg - friendlier, happier, but definately where we're headed. I might not live to see it.. but who knows when nanotech gets off the ground to splice into nerves :).


Interesting, but too short (1)

axiem (119959) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481694)

Well, this isn't extremely new. IIRC, there was a guy in like, the 80s who had a computer attached to his brain so he could see, and it worked. But now bionics might be getting even more attention, since Stevie Wonder's not the least known performer by far. Though I wish the article had been longer. Like a description of how the system works, or even just an overview of what will happen to him. Wonder if this'll hit all the news stations eventually...probably, if it works. If it doesn't work, methinks someone might end up getting sued. Be interesting to see how this turns out.

Like "germ" or (dental) "cavity", it's non-tech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481695)

These are popular words used by people outside the profession. (Although I think "caries" sounds silly). Cybernetic might be a better replacement term acceptable to both those in and out of the profession. Besides, who can mention "bionic" and not think of Lee Majors and that tah-tah-tah-tah sound effect or Lindsey Wagner crushing a tennis ball in her hand? Some terms are best forgotten.

Re:Bionic? (1)

seaportcasino (121045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481703)

Was that word ever used for anything other than the Bionic Man?

Re:Tech Standards (1)

xlr82xs (5383) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481704)

woopos sorry, i missred the article and assumed it was permenant...thats the military tech...replacements that are permenant not removable augmumentation...

but the replacement ones are cool....infra red, night sites, overlayed radar etc etc

oh you didnt hear that from me ;)

Every medical procedure needs a celebrity (3)

chandoni (28843) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481705)

Even though Stevie Wonder is supposedly not an ideal candidate for the procedure (due to having been without sight so long) at least his undertaking it might draw attention and well-needed research funds for people developing this sort of implant.

Christopher Reeve has done way more for attracting attention (and $$) for research in neuron regeneration and spinal cord injuries than any number of scientists could!

Re:It's not the same... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481706)

It *may* be:

Have you seen Stevie Wonder's piano?... Stevie hasn't. (ba-dum-bum)

Re:Don't listen, it's a conspiracy! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481707)

I'm not worried. All we have to do is pit him against Bionic Ray Charles and we're saved! ;)

Re:Sign of things to come.. (2)

seaportcasino (121045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481708)

Well, this idea does not sound all that appealing to me, in fact, appalling might be a better term that come to mind.
One has to carefully consider the ramifications of allowing these types of "artifical" modifications to the human body.
The first thing I believe that will happen is that the rich will start to get the modifications, this there will be a class distinction where the rich are covered with capability enhancing modifications while the poor get nothing.
Quickly, it will become as popular to an eye with a built-in feed to the internet as it would be to today get a new Lexus.
Eventually over time, the rich will barely be rocognizable as human.
There a great anime called I think the "Starlight Express" or something like that which predicts just such a future (great movie by the way), and it's really not that hard to imagine it actually happening.
Oh well, that said, where do I sign up for the x-ray vision eyes? Now that would come in handy!

excess O2 causes it immediately (nt) (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481710)


Fascinating possibilities (2)

grappler (14976) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481713)

Here's an interesting question: Could we "manufacture" new senses for ourselves?

For someone who has never seen, that's exactly what this would be like - you make an input device sensitive to our visible light spectrum, feed it into his brain, and it hopefully learns over time to interpret the signals until he has another sense that just feels natural.

I see no reason to believe that the human brain is not adaptive enough to add new arbitrary senses. Of course, I am no expert in such things and if any of you out there are, please correct me.

Imagine the possibilities though - anything that we currently make equipment for! We could have a new device that would help us to "sense" our global position via GPS, radiation levels in the area, supersonic or subsonic viabrations, and so on...

And of course we can't forget the obvious - an infrared sensor with that certain sony handycam kind of filter. Clothes, begone!


First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481715)

First Post

It'd be nice, but.. (2)

drix (4602) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481723)

This chip only works on people who still have some undamaged tissue in their eye. You still have to scientifically be able to see - your rods and cones have to function - and all this chip does is restore some broken links in the pathway from eye to brain. Wonder's eyes are too far gone for this to be possible. This treatment has helped certain blind people to regain minimal sight, but it won't help Stevie Wonder. I still don't really know why the media ate this one up. Star power I guess. Anyways, it won't happen.
"Some people say that I proved if you get a C average, you can end up being successful in life."

Re:Intestesting...try here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481724)

this has some interesting info. on retinal implants etc. []

Stevie's Too Good for Rob (2)

athom (88135) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481725)

"Now normally a Stevie Wonder story probably wouldn't make it on Slashdot..."

Anything about The Who, on the other hand, would be immediately posted without hesitation ;-).

The Matrix? :-) (1)

Gurlia (110988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481726)

This is truly interesting. So we finally have devices that can interact directly with our optical nerves without actually using light. The Matrix begins to sound more plausible now... kidnap someone, blind them, install (a more advanced, color version of) this device and feed VR into it. They'd never know what happened to their world. Nah... this sounds too corny :-) But devices like these do present interesting possibilities, though.

(Disclaimer: it's way past my bedtime...)

This is good (2)

JohnG (93975) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481727)

Wow, I actually thought that this story was some kind of sick joke when I first saw the headlines. I had no idea that we could make the blind see again with a microchip! That could indeed be great news for alot of people.
I do have a few concerns though. The biggest being that I would like to have surgery to correct my vision, but it is quite expensive. I am wondering if one would have to have Stevie Wonder's fortune to afford such an infinetely more complicated procedure such as the implant of a chip into your eye? If it is to be horribly expensive will insurance cover it?
My second concern is that we will have people with good eyesight getting chips put in to get better eyesight. I don't want to see the age where we all are computerized people. Lord knows the human body isn't an unbreakable machine, but it is far more durable than a computer, I mean what if your eye or arm shorts out for some reason, then you have what was a perfectly good eye/arm going haywire because you wanted it to be better.
Aw, well I guess I am over reacting, I don't think that we will see healthy people getting these soon, and I have always felt sorry for people with such large disabilities as blindness and paralysis. If this technology can help those people to see or walk again than it would be worth the abuse that it could potential have.
By the way, in the above paragraph I just sort of looked into the future about fixing the paralyzed people, the article from ZD was very short, does anyone know if this eye chip technology could help spinal chord injuries and such as well?

sorry (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1481728)

this might help

What resolution? Does he see the same? (2)

PG13 (3024) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481729)

I heard some things about implanting electronic eyes before but they were incredibly bad resolution (4 pixels) have they improved this?

Secondly does he see the same colors we do? The human eye distingushes color by only three components (RGB) rather then the full frequency spectrum (hence why you can differnt wavelenghts to get similar colors).

There are plenty of examples of cases this isn't true (for instance cameras expose as greenish in florescent lights. If it is still a very small resolution infared might be more useful to distingush people and so forth.

Some Related Links (5)

_Dante_ (14004) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481731)

Here are some links I found with more information on this 'chip' thing:
  • The Retinal Implant Project [] useful interesting background on this or a similar operation
  • An article on the same at ABCNews [] (in laymans terms)
  • More info here []
  • Finally, a paper [] on the chip.

Most Links! :)

Eye chips? (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481732)

If it works, more power to him. But I don't recall ever hearing about any real-world trials of anything like this before; is this a new thing?

Also, I thought Stevie Wonder was born blind. Considering his age, being able to see is probably going to take a LOT of getting used to (who knows; after so many years of being blind, suddenly gaining sight could very well drive a person insane through the relative sensory overload). I wish him the best of luck, though.

Come to think of it, the only way we'll ever really be able to know if this works as well as "normal" human vision is to try it on someone who wasn't born blind, so that person can compare. It'll certainly be interesting to see (pardon the pun) how such an experiment would turn out.

Wait, one last thing. Where exactly do they plan to put this chip? Putting it physically inside the eye would probably not be a Good Thing. Unless you put it on the optic disk it'd block part of the retina, and the chip complete with neural interfaces would probably be too big to fit over the disk.

Noooooooo! It's all a big lie! (0)

limbostar (116177) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481746)

Stevie Wonder is actually a laser robot droid sent to assimilate the planet for the evil forces of Skulltor! The implant is a mere upgrade to allow him to project holographic images of diet coke cans up to five hundred feet away!


Re:I'm all for it but.. (2)

j a w a d (66763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481747)

He was born with sight: he could see until he was five, IIRC.

i dont display scores, and my threshhold is -1. post accordingly.

I doubt it will work now, but maybe in the future. (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481748)

I really doubt that this will work, or at least to the degree they'd like it too. However, we shouldn't just discount this even if doesn't work. The fact that someone famous is trying it out could further the cause to use technology to fix vision and other things. If we could implant a successful version of this device in children who go blind early in life, or when someone just starts to lose their vision, it would be great.

Maybe in the future we can give people super vision or something. It'd be interesting to see how these types of implants do for us in the future. Using similar devices, one day we might be able to cure paralysis by installing some kind of electrical signal re-router in people's spines to make up for damaged nerves, and who knows what else.

The Real Story (3)

ecampbel (89842) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481749)

An Excite story [] explains this whole situation a lot better. Slashdot should really demand better citations.

It turns out Wonder has not made any public statements regarding the procedure. A tabloid reported that he told a congregation that he was planning on getting his site back, but the doctor that is running the clinic has said he has not made an apoitment. Besides, an examination would have to be done first to see if he is even a candidate. Still pretty cool even if Wonder is not planning the procedure.

Fascinating. (3)

_outcat_ (111636) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481750)

I'm just a young tike (still in high school) so...why is Stevie Wonder blind? I realize he was born that way...but what congenital affliction is this?

Also, hm. I really would like more information on this article. It seems to me that vision would be far too alien a sense for him; I've read cases like this. Hang on, let me find the book...

Okay. It's Oliver Sacks' book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". It details probably about 20 cases Dr. Sacks, a noted neurologist, treated, got to know, and gained valuable insight from. (He's a heckuva writer--check out his books if you're interested in the brain and the mind that drives it.)

A man named Virgil (I believe it was--I can't find the book right now) was blind from the time he was a young child; he had an operation when he was 50 or 60 that restored his vision, and at first, he was able to see vibrantly, clearly, like a new window of existence reopened after many years.

He visited his childhood home, and even though he was like 2 or 3 when his vision went, he could see most clearly the things he remembered, such as a fence and a field, I believe. (Again, I can't find the book; please correct me if I'm wrong!;] )

However, when he returned back to his home in a city, it began to be harder and harder for him to use his sight confidently. He'd resort to closing his eyes and acting "blind" because he was the most confident this way--traffic rushing by him made him nervous and indecisive.

Eventually, due to a combination of psychological and physical factors, his vision deteriorated again. I don't know if he's still around or not, but it would be kinda cool to meet someone like that.

I dunno. It'd be interesting to find out how Stevie Wonder turns out. I'd HATE to have a chip in my eye. Contacts bother me enough.

Geordi LaForge, anyone? (3)

CrayDrygu (56003) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481751)

This brings up a kind of interesting allusion to Star Trek. I always thought Geordi's visor was pretty amazing. Not only did it cure his blindness, but it was like an entire set of military-type scopes: infra-red, night vision, all sorts of odd but useful things.

Once this technology that's going into Wonder gets refined to the point where it actually has a decent resolution, I can't imagine it would be that hard to implement a bunch of different sensors/cameras for it. In fact, they might even be able to develop some sort of (waterproof, hopefully, to prevent shorts) external connector, and actually create a visor like Geordi's =)

Looks like a piece of Star Trek technology could become a reality in our lifetimes, eh?

How could they know whether it worked? (3)

konstant (63560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1481752)

As others have mentioned, Stevie Wonder has never had eyesight. No matter what results the experiments bring, he will be unabled to measure them against a remembered standard.

He might see everything upside down, or in 2d or in shades of green, and to him that would seem like complete success. Heck, all he might see is a rotating Head of Rob Malda and he would give the thumbs up "Is that what a sunset looks like? It's beautiful!"

I wish him luck. Can you imagine your world suddenly expanding to include another sense?

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