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BrainPort is a technology sold by Wicab Inc.[1] whereby sensory information can be sent to one's brain via a signal from the BrainPort (and its associated sensor) that terminates in an electrode array which sits atop the tongue. It was initially developed by Paul Bach-y-Rita as an aid to people's sense of balance, particularly of stroke victims. Bach-y-Rita founded Wicab in 1998.[2][3][4]

BrainPort technology has also been developed for use as a visual aid. For example, the BrainPort has demonstrated its ability to allow a blind person to see his surroundings in polygonal and pixel form. In this scenario, a camera picks up the image of the surrounding, the information is processed by a chip which converts it into impulses which are sent through an electrode array, via the tongue, to the person's brain. The human brain is able to interpret these impulses as visual signals and they are then redirected to the visual cortex, allowing the person to "see." This is similar in part to how a cochlear implant works, in that it transmits electrical stimuli to a receiving device in the body. [5] [6]

See also[edit]


  • P. Bach-y-Rita, P., M. E. Tyler, and K. A. Kaczmarek. "Seeing with the brain." In press, Int. J. Hum. Comp. Interact, 2001.
  • P. Bach-y-Rita, K. A. Kaczmarek and M. E. Tyler, "A tongue-based tactile display for portrayal of environmental characteristics," in Psychological Issues in the Design and Use of Virtualk and Adaptive Environments, L. Hettlinger and M. Haas, Eds. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, in press.
  • K. A. Kaczmarek and M. E. Tyler, "Effect of electrode geometry and intensity control method on comfort of electrotactile stimulation on the tongue," Proc. ASME Dyn. Sys. Contr. Div., Orlando, Florida, pp. 1239-1243, 2000.