Friday Math Movie – Mixed Feelings (Vision through the tongue)
[01 Aug 2008]
Can we “hear” through our ears? “See” through our tongue? This week’s movie gives a brief glimpse on how this is possible.
As the blurb says:
Episode 109: Mixed Feelings Neuroscientists in Wisconsin are helping blind patients see with their tongues. Find out how they’re juggling the senses and rewiring the brain.
This is an application of binary math – a signal is either ON (1) or OFF (0). In this case, a pixel is either “on” (indicating “white”) or “off (indicating “black”). (It’s the same as the monitor that you are reading this on right now.) Instead of the eye being able to see things, in this case, the tongue determines whether the signal is on or off.
The fascinating part about it is that our brains can interpret one sense as though it is another, indicating how “plastic” our brains can be.
[The movie comes from Wired.com and there is advertising at the beginning.]