One of the lasting images from the show, Star Trek the Next Generation for me was the vision of how far medicine had come since the original series. Specifically, I’m thinking about Geordi La Forge and his visor. I’m sure many who saw what that device did for LeVar Burton’s character had to wonder if we would see the day that at least the beginnings of such a breakthrough could occur in the real world.
Folks, that day has come. Thanks to 25 years of work by Dr. Mark Humayun, The Argus II has been created. This device, which is worn like a pair of sunglasses, along with a small processor that hangs from your shoulder, actually sends images to the wearer, through implanted sensor devices in the patient’s eyes. Here is a video that shows how it works.
Now if that wasn’t exciting enough, the device is actually being used by patients with very exciting results. Watch this news story from ABC News, which features a woman who is using the Argus II and the changes it has made in her life.
While it is only approved for one type of blindness at this time, this is also a beacon of hope for people who deal with various other types of blindness that they could have some sort of vision again one day. Who knows, science might one day find a way to create a genuine bionic eye, or improve the Argus II where other forms of blindness can be treated with it with a greater range of vision capability.
Once again, the vision and creativeness of the writers of science-fiction comes leaping out of the television and movie screens, and from the pages of books into the real world and becomes science fact. It also joins floppy disks, cell phones (communicators), Bluetooth, the various computer tablets, and so many other ideas from the various incarnations of Star Trek that have come into reality.