Tuesday, October 13, 2009

See With Your Tongue

When we were small we were told that snakes can see with their tongue. Some of us dismissed it as old wives' tales and others believed it.

We had no way of verifying such facts on Internet those days, you see?

Turns out that the "fact" was not that far off.

Snakes use their tongue to obtain directional sense of smell, which is as good as seeing.

But what about humans? Here is an extract from The Answer by John Assaraf (yeah! the same guy from The Secret) and Murray Smith.

Except for the fact that she is the lead singer for her high school choir, the girl on the stage seems just like any other sixteen-year-old. As the concert proceeds, Beth keeps a close watch on the choir's conductor, intently picking up his every movement and gesture. ... but there is something about her that makes her different from all the other girls in the choir.

Beth is blind. In fact, she has been blind from birth. ... She is watching him with her tongue.

Beth is wearing a device designed by the late Paul Bach-y-Rita, a neuroscientist at the University of Winconsin at Madison, who devoted much of his entire career to researching and demonstrating the proposition that all senses are created equal. And not just equal, but pretty much interchangeable. ...

Bach-y-Rita's device starts with a video camera strapped to the user's head that feeds video information to the laptop, which reduces the image to a 144-pixel signal that is then fed through the electrodes to a grid that rests on the tongue, which reads the image as a sort of superlingual braille. ...

Wow! The human brain is better than we thought!

Anything that can be measured can be transported to the brain," said the scientist,"[and if] we can get it to the brain, the brain can learn how to use it."

Think about it!

Just one question that popped up in my head, and I am really curious to know this: how does Beth sing with that electrode resting on her tongue?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

My Library