Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita

Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita

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Credit: PHILIPPE PSAILA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Paul Bach-y-Rita (1934-), US doctor and biomedical inventor, with his tongue display unit (TDU). Bach-y-Rita and his team at the University of Wisconsin, USA, first developed a sensory aid device for the blind in 1969. This was the tactile vision substitution system (TVSS), it allowed an image from a camera to be transmitted as electrical impulses to the skin of a blind person, enabling them to 'see' the image. This was developed into the TDU, which transmits the impulses to the tongue, a more effective conductor and a more sensitive organ. As well as the blind, the device will also be able to help deep sea divers, firefighters and search and rescue teams.

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