MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: Is it possible for humans to see as animals see?

Date: Sun Nov 26 19:04:36 2000
Posted By: James Clack, Faculty, Biology, Indian Univ - Purdue Univ
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 971785259.Ns

Creating artificial vision and giving people sight are two entirely 
different things.  "Artificial vision" is a broad term that encompasses 
video technology, so we've had "AV" for a long time now.  The hard part is 
sending the information from a chip to a person's optic nerve in readable 
form.  Your photoreceptors and other retinal neurons are extremely complex 
and their interactions are even more complex.  A single ganglion cell may 
well receive inputs from 100's of photoreceptors and integrate that 
information appropriately.  The problem is sending that info to the 
ganglion cells in an appropriate form.

Most appropriate would be neurochemical, but that will be years away.  The 
only way to do this now is to impose a crude electrical "image" on the 
existing retinal cells.  However, there is no guarantee that they will 
interpret this information correctly, if at all.

As far as seeing like an animal goes, we already do this to a certain 
degree.  We see much the same as many mammals.  How we perceive the images 
sent to our brains is something that we don't have a handle on.

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