He made important contributions to the physiology of the retina and colour vision, treatment of erectile dysfunction, and is perhaps best known for an unusual scientific presentation at the 1983 Las Vegas meeting of the American Urological Association, where he removed his trousers to show the audience his chemically induced erection and invited them to inspect it closely. He had injected papaverine into his penis in his hotel room before the presentation.
He is also a pioneer in visual prosthetics, developing one of the first visual prostheses in the 1960s. The device was tested on four blind patients, giving them some basic visual sensation, but given the technology of the day further development was impractical. He also developed sacral anterior root stimulators for bladder control in paraplegic patients.
Trained in Cambridge and London Hospital. he saw service in the RAF before taking up academic appointments first in Cambridge and then at the University of London, authoring more than 100 scientific papers in a variety of subjects. He was doctoral advisor to David Marr (neuroscientist) who later developed computational theories of vision that had great impact in the neuroscience of vision and computer vision.
Brindley invented a musical instrument in the 1960s, the 'logical bassoon', an electronically controlled version of the bassoon. It was easier to play than a normal bassoon, but was never marketed.
He has also composed music for wind instruments, including Variations on a Theme by Schoenberg.
- Brindley, G.S. Physiology of the Retina and Visual Pathway 2nd Ed. London: Edward Arnold 1970
- Laurence Klotz (November 2005). "How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous Brindley lecture". British Journal of Urology International 96 (7): 956–957. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05797.x. PMID 16225508.
- Brindley, G. S.; Lewin, W. S. (May 1, 1968). "The sensations produced by electrical stimulation of the visual cortex". The Journal of Physiology (196): 479–493. Retrieved Jan 9, 2012.
- Brindley GS, Polkey CE, Rushton DN. Sacral anterior root stimulators for bladder control in paraplegia. Paraplegia. 1982 Dec;20(6):365-81.
- The Logical Bassoon