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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh, Wonderful

This is just fantastic:

A U.S. scientist has created a small 'seeing machine' that allows blind or visually impaired people to view faces, visit the Internet and more.

The machine, designed by a visually impaired Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher, has received positive feedback from a recent pilot clinical trial.

The research was led by Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT`s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She developed the $4,000 machine during the last 10 years, in collaboration with more than 30 MIT students, scientists and some of her personal eye doctors.

Goldring developed her machine along the lines of a diagnostic device known as a scanning laser opthalmoscope, or SLO. That machine projects an image directly onto the retina of an eye to determine if there is any healthy retina left.

'We essentially made the new machine from scratch,' Goldring said. The new seeing machine replaces the laser of the SLO with light-emitting diodes, another source of high-intensity light that is much cheaper.

The research was detailed earlier this year in Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association.

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