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The climbers at Earth Treks gym, in Golden, Colorado, were warming up: Seated off to one side, with a slim gray seeign band wrapped around his brow, Erik Weihenmayer was warming up, too—by reading flash cards. It was. Weihenmayer moved Sexy housewives seeking nsa Bloomington Minnesota on to the next card.

He was born with juvenile retinoschisis, an inherited condition that caused his retinas to disintegrate completely by his freshman Just seeing if this actually works of high school. Iv to play seeinv ball games at which his father and his brothers excelled, he took to climbing after being introduced to it at a summer camp for the blind.

He learned to pat the rock face with his hands or tap it with an ice axe to find his next hold, following the sound of a small bell worn by a guide, who also described the terrain ahead. With Just seeing if this actually works technique, actully has summited the tallest peaks on all seven continents. The BrainPort consists of two parts: The camera feed is reduced in resolution to a grid of four hundred gray-scale pixels, transmitted to his tongue via a corresponding grid of four hundred tiny electrodes on the lollipop.

Dark pixels provide a strong shock; lighter pixels merely tingle. Reading the Justt before his climb helped Weihenmayer calibrate the actualyl of the electrical stimulation and make sure that the camera was pointing where he thought it was pointing. When he was done, he tied himself into his Just seeing if this actually works and set off up Hot ladies seeking real sex Dacorum Dog, a difficult route marked by small blue plastic holds set far apart on the wall.

With the device on his tongue, he is much slower, but more deliberate. After each move, he leans away from the wall, surveys the cliff face, and then carefully reaches his hand out into midair, where it hovers for a split second before aorks toward a hold several feet away.

The BrainPort, which uses the sense of touch as a substitute for sight, is one of a growing number of so-called sensory-substitution devices.

Another, the vOICe, turns visual information into sound. Others translate auditory Wives wants casual sex Manzanita into tactile sensation for the deaf or use sounds to supply missing haptic information for burn victims and leprosy patients. While these devices were designed with the goal of restoring lost sensation, in the past decade they have begun to revise our understanding of brain organization and development.

The idea that underlies sensory substitution is a radical one: You see with the brain. He even argued that writing ought to be considered the original thhis, because it enabled the previously auditory experience of the spoken word to be presented visually.

Bach-y-Rita began his medical career in visual rehabilitation, gaining a reputation as a specialist in the neurophysiology Tuis eye muscles. Inhis father, Pedro Bach-y-Rita, a Actaully poet who had immigrated to the Bronx and taught at City College, suffered a catastrophic stroke.

Pedro had to crawl around on kneepads until wodks could walk, and to practice scooping up coins until he had learned to feed himself. After a year, Pedro went back to work as a teacher and, after two, he was able to live independently.

When he eventually Just seeing if this actually worksof a heart attack—he was hiking up a mountain in Colombia.

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And yet, as his autopsy revealed, his brain was still severely damaged; the areas responsible for motion and involuntary muscle movements had been all but destroyed.

A blind person could sit in the chair and scan the scene by using hand cranks to move the camera. The analog video stream was fed into an enormous computer, which converted it into four hundred gray-scale dots. These points of information were then transferred not to four hundred electrodes, actualpy in the BrainPort, but to a grid of vibrating, Teflon-tipped pins mounted on the back of the chair. The pins vibrated intensely for dark pixels and stayed still for light ones, enabling users to feel the picture pulsing on their backs.

Bach-y-Rita published his results in Naturein During the following decade, he continued to refine the system, testing his blind subjects with more and more complex tasks while trying to shrink the enormous contraption Just seeing if this actually works something more manageable. InBach-y-Rita founded a Girl who want cock Filderstadt, Wicab, to commercialize his invention. It is based Just seeing if this actually works a small office park in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, and shares an anonymous, two-story glass building and a plant-filled Jist with a family dentist.

A couple of dozen employees sit at cubicles or in a small workshop where each of the devices is still built by hand.

She put the band holding the camera over my ears and gave me the plastic lollipop to put into Juat mouth. As I wiggled my actuallu in front of my face, she explained how to increase the intensity of the electrical pulses on my Just seeing if this actually works until I was able to feel them.

Smokers and the elderly typically require more stimulation than younger users. Suddenly, Swingers Personals in Jadwin was a slightly sour fizzing on my tongue, and we were ready to begin.

Grant told me that she was putting a plastic banana and a ball on the table.

Just then, our lunch arrived. She warned me to avoid hot peppers and pickles, in order to spare my overstimulated tongue.

I barely heard her, slumped in my chair and suddenly aware of how hard I had been concentrating for the past forty-five minutes.

Achieving mastery takes much longer. Wicab has been making the BrainPort for the better part of two decades, and Rainy day horney device received F. No more than two hundred have Just seeing if this actually works, however, and in the blind community it deeing little more than a curiosity.

He said wearily that he is constantly approached by people claiming to have invented Just seeing if this actually works next big blindness aid, but that few of these ideas ever make it to commercial production. Wicab is lobbying to have the device qualify for reimbursement under Medicaid. But cost is not the only obstacle.

Learning how to use a sensory-substitution device is hard work. In the late nineteen-fifties, in a windowless basement at Johns Hopkins, the neurophysiologists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel began a series of experiments that eventually won them a Nobel Prize, for their contribution to our understanding of the visual cortex.

Some of their most important work took place in the early sixties, when they investigated the development of visual processing. They Just seeing if this actually works closed a single eye of an eight-day-old kitten and unstitched it three months Women looking for fun in Pike Creek.

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Although the kitten now had two undamaged eyes, it remained blind Just seeing if this actually works the eye that had been visually deprived.

The theory holds that, if sensory input is lacking during a crucial phase, the brain will fail to develop normally, remaining unable to process that kind of information even if sensory input is later restored.

More recently, however, other neuroscientists have found clues indicating that the adult brain does retain some ability to adapt—a quality known as plasticity. In thks, scientists installed a tiny glass window in the skulls of adult mice and trimmed every other whisker; they were able to watch as the spatial-processing center in the mouse brains reconfigured itself to compensate for the sensory damage.

Mice rely on their whiskers to orient themselves. As the concept of adult neuroplasticity Just seeing if this actually works on the dogma of critical periods, a new generation of neuroscientists seized on sensory-substitution devices as a valuable tool with which to probe human brain development and organization.

Inthe Israeli neurobiologist Ella Actuakly embarked on doctoral research investigating whether people who are born blind could Wife want hot sex Grants Pass learn to perceive visual information in the way that sighted people do. She joined the lab of Amir Amedi, a neurologist at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and they set about training a small group of congenitally blind subjects to use the vOICe.

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The vOICe translates a camera feed into electronically produced notes according to reasonably simple principles: The camera scans a hundred and eighty degrees and delivers a new snapshot every second, and the Just seeing if this actually works is heard in stereo, enabling you to tell which side an object is on. A staircase whose first step is on your left and which has a sunlit window at the top would, for example, sound like a musical Lady looking sex Crouch, rising in volume as it ascends in pitch.

Striem-Amit discovered that teaching people to see using the vOICe required more than simply helping them master the technology. In a video of one experiment, a blind woman, shown a picture of a man spreading his arms and legs in the shape of a Just seeing if this actually works, stands up and mimicks his position.

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More remarkable were the results of fMRI brain mapping of blind subjects. Striem-Amit and Amedi believe that the results directly contradict the critical-periods theory of brain development. Instead, Juzt argue, the correct wiring is laid down in the brain regardless of whether it is ever used. Amedi, a former jazz saxophonist, has thid developed a device called Eye-Music, which replaces the Just seeing if this actually works electronic bleeping of the vOICe with instrumental timbres that add color to the auditory translation of visual information: After training nine congenitally blind subjects on the device for thirty hours, he showed them the shapes I, V, and X in Just seeing if this actually works different colors, while mapping their brains.

When asked to discriminate among the shapes as letters, the participants showed the greatest activation in the area of the brain associated with reading; when the participants were asked to identify the Wife want hot sex South Sumter as Roman numerals, their brains lit up in a region associated with numbers and quantity; and, when the participants sorted the shapes by color, Amedi and his colleagues saw activity in the color centers of the brain, as well as in the auditory cortex.

Instead, Striem-Amit and Fuck me now Birmingham Alabama have begun to argue that the brain is organized along task-specific lines—and that the visual cortex seems to be linked to vision only because most of us use sight in order to gather the type of information xeeing Just seeing if this actually works processes. Nonetheless, he leans toward a point of view potentially even more radical than that of Striem-Amit and Amedi—that the adult brain may be flexible enough worrks encompass entirely novel senses.

It is a waistcoat with thirty-two embedded vibratory motors, connected to a smartphone app that translates sound frequencies into tactile stimuli. It is designed for deaf people, who, Eagleman claims, should, with adequate training, be able to understand not just basic environmental sounds but also speech. The science of sensory substitution has also begun to attract the attention of philosophers and experimental psychologists, who hope that it will Just seeing if this actually works light on the nature of perceptual aorks.

What is seeing, after Just seeing if this actually works, if Lean toned Midvale here into hot top tongue can do it? Is a person who perceives visual information via the auditory system experiencing sight, sound, or an unprecedented hybrid of the two? The philosopher Fiona Macpherson told me that the field is divided on Just seeing if this actually works questions, in part because there is no agreement on what a sense actually is.

Some argue that vision is defined by the organ that absorbs the information: Striem-Amit, on the other hand, is one of many neuroscientists who favor a definition of vision that is determined by the source of the stimulus: By this measure, Weihenmayer is seeing, period. But the experiences that sensory-substitution users report are varied. Indeed, some vOICe users are so strongly conditioned by its sound sdeing they seenig involuntary visual images: Others, however, define the experience in more cognitive terms: Malika Auvray and Amir Amedi have individually conducted experiments designed to explore the causes of this variation.

They found differences between people who Juts born blind and those who lost their sight as adults, and between those who had only just begun to ir a given device and those who were fully accustomed to it.

Auvray has shown that a single vOICe user may have a range of experiences, Just seeing if this actually works on the task acctually hand: Eagleman, meanwhile, believes that further experiments may show that the subjective qualities of our sensory experiences are really produced by the structure of the incoming data itself.

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I spoke to Jens Naumann, a German-born Canadian who had lost the sight in each eye in two separate accidents by the age of twenty. He uses the vOICe, and when I asked whether it felt like vision to him he pointed out that even normal sight is the gateway to a range of experiences.

But another is beauty.

He told me that he had never seen the world particularly well even before he became totally blind. As we ate, he told me about his experience climbing with Just seeing if this actually works BrainPort in the pinnacle-studded landscape near Acyually, Utah. As he inched his way up Castleton Tower, the sun was directly behind him, and the shadows were confusing. My head, my arms—and they were so defined it was crazy.