Blind Liverpool Solider Can See With His Tongue

Posted in: 16th March 2010 by erica

A soldier blinded by a grenade in Iraq has had his life transformed by ground-breaking technology that enables him to ‘see’ with his tongue.

Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, 24, from Walton, Liverpool, lost his sight while serving in Bascra in 2007.

Today he revealed he can identify shapes, walk around unaided and even read the paper.

 The Liverpool fan, who plays blind football for England, was faced with the prospect of relying on a guide dog or cane for the rest of his life after he was injured.

But he was chosen by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be the first person to trial the BrainPort device, which could revolutionise treatment for the blind.

The BrainPort converts visual images into a series of electrical pulses which are sent to the tongue. The different strength of the tingles can be read or interpreted so the user can mentally visualise their surroundings and navigate around objects.

The device is comprised of a tiny video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses which are linked to a plastic ‘lolly pop’ which the user places on their tongue to read the electrical pulses.

L/Cpl Lundberg explained: ‘It feels like popping candy. The camera sends signals down onto the lolly pop and onto your tongue, you can then determine what they mean and transfer it to shapes.

‘You get lines and shapes of things, it sees in black and white so you get a two dimensional image on your tongue, it’s a bit like a pins and needles sensation.

‘It’s only a prototype, but the potential to change my life is massive, it’s got a lot of potential to advance things for blind people.

‘One of the things it has enabled me to do is pick up objects straight away, I can reach out and pick them up when before I would be fumbling around to feel for them thanks to a pioneering device.