Eye Robot


Eye Robot

By Guest Author

David Lafleche

     "The moderator parked his guide dog beside the lectern, while a buzz of excited whispers came from the audience. He banged a gavel to get their attention. "Silence, please! And all cell phones off." They complied. "Thank you," the moderator continued. "As you know, the highlight of our convention has always been the forum on Electronic Aids for the Blind. Of course, this year's worst-kept secret is an experimental device called 'EYE ROBOT.' It is, to put it simply, a 'bionic eye,' similar in concept to the cochlear implant device used by the Deaf. While the display is being set up, that gives us a few minutes for a round-robin discussion. So, if you're all in your assigned seats...please, no practical jokes this year, Caroline...we can begin. What do you think, Caroline?"

     Caroline Pedersen stood up. "Ahem well, it's a wonderful idea," she replied with her usual cheerfulness. "I hope it works out for those who really want it. As for myself, I wouldn't mind if I never see a speck of light at all. I like my life just the way it is: no worries, no complaints."

     "To each her own," the moderator agreed. "Any comments from the floor?"

     Caroline's sister stood up to introduce herself. "Hi. Some of you know me. I'm Caroline's sister, Naomi LaVal. "Although I watched Caroline live her entire life as a blind person, and know that she's contented and functional, I seriously doubt her objectivity. After all, if this thing works, she might be out of a job as a guide dog trainer!"

     "Hey, Hawkeye! Leave the jokes to the professionals!" Caroline replied. "Oh, well. No big loss. I'm a cat person anyway." Caroline laughed out loud. Most of the audience laughed along.

     "You two are always good for a knee-slapper!" the moderator agreed.

     "I disagree!" Mandy shouted, out of turn. "Blindness is NOT a laughing matter, Caroline! You and your cornball act!"

     "Order!" the moderator demanded. "Mandy, please wait your turn. You're not setting a good example for our new members, some of whom are children. Speaking of which, we do have two new members of our organization here tonight. One is, uh, Mrs. Peggy Larson. Is she here?"

     >"She's deaf, sir," Naomi replied. "I'll interpret." She relayed the address to Peggy in sign language.

     "Well, there is a lot of controversy about that in the Deaf Culture," Peggy replied. "We've always had heated debates about signing vs. oralism, or implants vs. Deaf pride, and so on. But I'll take Caroline's position: I could live with or without it."

     "Very well," the moderator continued. "Our next new member is Miss Rhoda LaVal. Have you any comments?"

      "Hmmm..." Rhoda began, sorting her words carefully. She had the same sense of humor as her Aunt Caroline; but, as a straight-A science student in school, she also liked to approach topics with serious objectivity. "Actually, I'm not totally blind yet," she began. "I can still get by somewhat with coke bottles. My doctor said I'll probably lose the rest of my vision by the time I'm twenty, so that gives me six years to think it over. I guess I'll have to wait until I get to that point then weigh the pros and cons of both sides. From what I've heard of these implants, their visual acuity isn't even as good as what I have right now. But I'll think about it."

     "Very good, Miss LaVal!" the moderator replied. "You are rather mature for your age. Your participation in this group will no doubt be an asset. Now, Mandy, have you anything to add?"

     "Yes, I do!" she snapped. "I don't like this idea at all! It's just another way that sighted people demean us! They like to think that we're all so 'helpless' that we actually NEED their little gizmos in order to exist! Well, I don't!"

     Naomi took exception to this. "Mandy, aren't you reading a little too much into this? I mean, these inventors are only trying to help."

     "Oh, who asked you?"


e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. I've been blind all my life. Until I was ten years old, I had a little vision,...enough to remember colors and what some things looked like. But, it was really pretty little and decreased until I was ten and lost it all. So, vision really isn't a big deal for me.

I've read about experimental things, like artificial vision, and surgery to restore sight. From all I've heard, so far, it's not vision as a sighted person would consider having sight. In addition to the limits to this type of vision, the person receiving it would have to learn a great deal to be able to interpret the image he/she would receive.

For me, the time and effort it would take to learn to use this limited "vision" would be more trouble than the relatively few inconveniences I have in my life, now. So, I'd have to say "No Thanks".

Cindy Handel Willow Street, PA

**2. Another good one. I could be wrong but I get the feeling that Mandy is what many of our sighted friends think all blind folk are like, that is always complaining. If a 'bionic eye, will help one person, well I say this is good. Not sure I want to try but sure won't complain if another blind person jumps at the chance. There are many things out today, gizmos if you please, most made by a sighted person, that greatly help improve life for we blind. In my way of looking at life, anything that will help another person, whether blind, deaf, crippled or sighted with no physical problems is a good thing. I like my easy to use microwave, my talking indoor/outdoor thermometer, my long white cane, my talking watch, to name just a few of the gizmos that help us in our daily life. To me, Mandy's outburst tells me she is bitter at her life and wants the sighted to know just how unhappy she really is. I like Naomi's response, trying to look on the bright side of life. Have a great day.

Ernie Jones Walla Walla

**3. Well this is a question I've asked myself many times before like I'm sure other in this position have. But I think I'd go with the character of Mandy here somewhat, that some sighted do believe us blind to be "helpless", but I'd also go with Naomi as well that the sighted who made these things are trying to help us out. But I ask the provoker here is: Would you take something to restore your vision?

Yours, Sean Moore

**4. First of all, where is this story really going. There are so many points of view discussed, (and not discussed) here. I think Mandy was too much on the defensive, but I understand why. All in all, this scenario could spark some great discussion if it weren't so vague in what it halfway implies or doesn't imply.

Judy Jones

...FROM ME: I Wrote her and basically said it's a question of would you like an artificial eye or not? And she wrote back the below response.

**5. Now that you've narrowed it down to would you, or would you not get an artificial "eye," there is much to be considered. Someone who just recently lost their sight might say readily "yes," while those of us living productive lives as blind persons might ponder or reject the opportunity. There isn't enough known about the "eye robot" in the story to discuss its possibilities. The real question is: do you or don't you want to have sight--forget eye robot and all the other nuances of the scenario. The way I feel about it, to have sight would be very convenient and helpful in my life, but isn't necessary for me to accomplish my life goals. If I were given the opportunity for restored sight, I would certainly review the options available and risks, if any. The story should have continued just a bit further with someone addressing the real question--then leaving it open for online discussion. You can probably tell from this discourse that I'm a concrete sequential thinker. It's interesting that one of our daughters' thought processes is just like mine. You ask us to write a poem about a tree, and we dredge up facts about the tree. On the other hand, my husband and other daughter are the opposite, and we've enjoyed a fun and interesting household throughout our 26-year marriage.

Best wishes, and thanks for your online efforts.

Judy Jones

**6. Ah... The bionic eye... Not again! I tend to agree a little with Mandy, but I don't agree fully with her at all. See, these bionic eye thinghies are indeed gizmos that the rhetinally challenged community tries to help the little blindies see! People who see do not know how to exist without lookin'. It's always been so! If I try to look up something in an electronic dictionary without lookin', they get all teary-eyed and awestruck. Gimmy a dang break! I agree with the ladies who said that they are comfortable with their lives without the looking. Ok, I do not discredit the inventor that's trying his best to help his fellow man. In fact, God calls people to be inventors. However, if it is not temporary blindness, then let us be! If somebody is losing vision, then they need to figure it out. It's a crappy proposition, and I've had three friends go through it, but good gracious! You're gonna be alright! Ya don't need a bionic eye!

Ben from Arizona

**7. Those who never had vision have no idea what they are missing. Those who always had vision until a sudden accident took it away, know full well what we have lost. Bionic eyes or Christian healing, each human being should be totally function in all aspects of life: Hearing, eyesight, speech, or any other disability. Any vision is better than no vision. So much is lost to those who cannot see. A teacher needs to see the faces of students to make sure they are learning. Danger lurks in society and blindness brings out predators who might not otherwise consider such acts. A society bordering on collapse will give little leeway to those with blindness. A full human being uses the eyes in 95% if all human activities. The eye is the opening to the soul. The lost beauty in even the faces of people is a treasure lost forever, much less, real art and history around the world. A blind person leaves a very limited life. Contentness in a full life is a much different topic than contentness because one has no choice. In vision is God, beauty, nature, weather, people, places, safety, adventure: All available in other ways to a blind person but in ways so much more limiting. Blind people never appear for healing because they do become content in a world of a few blocks instead of 24,0000 miles- but that is the life of a serf- not a full and functioning human being. Give me eyes or give me a good K9. Contentment is not the purpose of life. Service is. Bring it on and right now.

Dr. Scott Bray

**8. This story proves, that some blind people, will fall for any gimmick, such as this supposed I bot! I have been asked the Question, "RJ, wouldn't you like to be able to see?" And I always respond the same way "No."

Sincerely, RJ Sandefur

**9. I would take the implant if I were given the opportunity to significantly improve my sight. Few people would hesitate to improve their quality of life. Whether it is braces, a hip replacement, or chemotherapy, we do what needs to be done in order to make our pursuit of happiness just a little easier.


**10. As a deafblind person I already know a lot about the coclear implant (CI). I would never agree to it. I'm legally blind (not totally so) so I probably already have better sight then this robot eye would have to offer but if I lost it I still wouldn't want one. My concern is all these 'cures' cost money and lives. I feel the money could be better spent on things like Rehabilitation. Here in England rehabilitation for the blind leaves a lot to be desired. Many blind people function less well then they are capable of simply through lack of rehabilitation, yet they still have money to spend on all of these fairy tale cures. They will also cost in lives. Both human and animal. These devices will have been tested on animals. I'm totally against animal testing. I have a guide dog and some rescue rodents and it upsets me to think how many of their kind die just to produce something like this that we don't really need. There has also been the loss of human lives with CI due to a fault in the positioning of the inside part on earlier CI's which was causing a number of deaths due to Meningitis. Although this was rectified there is no guarantee that a thing like this couldn't happen with the robotic eye too.

Another thing I don't like about this is that not everyone can benefit. Some people who are told that they are not eligible for a CI will keep trying elsewhere and not accept their deafness which I find really sad. There is also the fact that not all operations are done voluntarily. Many parents are giving their babies CI which I think is wrong. Particularly when they are sometimes also denied sign language. I think they should wait till the child is old enough to communicate (via sign language) and express a desire for it or not.

Helene ryles UK

**11. What I see in this last one is a lot attitude being present in discuss. Each person have been through different things in there life. Depend upon whether you have become blind in life or you were born blind each have different of life. How we handle each problem lie how we are change in our life.

Roses have thorn and yet they are beautiful to eye. You can feel the pedal smoothness and yet just a little way is thorn. So life is what you make of it.

Dexter Terry

**12. I just read through this TP and found it pretty interesting. Having never seen anything but light and dark, I'd be pretty interested on the one hand to have a device which could restore my sight. However, I think one very important thing to consider here is what kind of reaction it would produce with a person's medications. Also, would this procedure be successful? What would be the side effects, if any?

Jake Joehl

**13. I cannot speak for those who state they would not consider such an invention for themselves, I cannot even say what all the motivations would be for such a viewpoint, but I suspect fear of the unknown would be a big one and how even limited sight might change what you have spent a lifetime learning to do without surely would be frightening. Interestingly, I am one who has not particularly felt too disadvantaged as a blind person for most of my adult life. It has changed greatly though in recent years. I am finding blindness and its attendant problems harder and harder to deal with as I get older. Adding age to the usual factors resulting in discrimination against the blind has become so much more difficult these days that it seems to encourage magical thinking. I tend to see such devices as possible solutions to things I never really worried about before. I guess this says more about where i am now than where i was then. After all, it is now I have to deal with and almost anything which gives me a little advantage would be more than welcome today.

Lisa Carmelle

Blind-X listserv

**14. That's an interesting take on the subject, Lisa. For me, the issue is not so much one of advantage as of what I know I am missing. I miss seeing a rose, a sunset, the Andromeda galaxy through my telescope, the beautiful color of a good red wine in a crystal goblet, the face of a loved one. I don't think of missing those as disadvantages as things ripped from my sense input without my permission. Some say that missing such means I am not a well adjusted blind person. My view is different. I say anyone with that myopic a opinion of the world that can be perceived by vision is an idiot. But, I have no real opinions on the matter. [grin]

Dan Blind-X listserv

**15. Dan, I think there is a huge difference between the statement "I wish I could see again", and the statement "I will see again". I think the former is a natural response from a well adjusted positive person, whereas the latter is a depressing statement from someone who really does not accept their own blindness and lives solely on a false sense of reality which may or may not happen.

Frankie Blind-X listserv

**16. Interesting scenario, If they perfected the product even to 20/100, I think I would strongly consider the option after being witness and victim of back stabbing manipulative tactics in the rehab system.

Bryan NFB Rehabilitation Professionals listserv

**17. I remember talking about this once with a friend who has always been blind
and felt that, if he were suddenly to have sight, he would need to
re-learn how to do things, and it would be seriously disruptive to his
life, so it wasn't something that he'd want. And I was on a list where it
was being discussed. People having had sight earlier in their lives
seemed to correlate with their wanting to take the option to have it back
if it were presented to them.

I am realizing now that any technology that gave us the option of having
sight would pose a dilemma much more complicated than simply choosing
whether we would want to be like a sighted person, and I don't see much
point in thinking about hypothetical situations. I am fairly sure that, even if a bionic eye allowed me to see images, it would be of very limited use to me because my brain has not developed the ability to effectively process these images, and this needs to happen at an early age. I may take such a thing even so but only if it wasn't hugely expensive and I felt sure that there was very little chance of it causing serious negative side-effects. There was something similar being experimented with a couple years ago. From my vague recollection, it involved a camera being connected to a wearable computer which was wired to something implanted in a person's brain. My then roommate, who is also blind, remarked that he wasn't going to have anyone opening up his brain and sticking things into it, and I really don't think that I would take something like that, either.

Mike Gorse Blind-X listserv)

**18. Everyone's got their own opinions on this. If I had a chance to get some degree of sight back though, I wouldn't hesitate. I don't care if I couldn't read a print book, and I don't care if it's not better than it was before I lost it, I need to be able to see where I'm going though...that is the main reason why I would be ecstatic if something should ever come along to give me some sight. Not being able to see where I'm going makes me feel so trapped and out of control.

Jennifer Aberdeen NFB NABS listserv

**19. After 42 years as a totally blind man, I would sign up if someone told me that I could have an implant that would provide me with near normal sight. I am very curious about many developments and new inventions since that long ago March day in 1965. However, if I were told that I would have to mortgage my house and go into debt to afford this implant, I would go about my life as a blind man. The fact is, I don't need eyesight in order to live a good, productive, meaningful life. Eyesight would not change the quality of my life. I am madly in love with a beautiful, bright, loving woman. And even better, she is my wife. We have built a good business together. We have our dream home deep in the forest on the Great Olympic Peninsula. Our children grew up to be caring, productive people, despite our efforts to warp their little minds. We have grand children who promise to even out do their parents. So, as much as I would love to open my eyes and look about the world, I already know what is good and beautiful. I'm always reminded of the old story about the two blind beggars. They were married to one another and they were the two most ugly, misshapen people the world had ever seen. But they were in love. Unable to see what physical beauty was, they cared not one bit what others saw. Then one day some interfering Fairy Princess offered to give them sight. They agreed. After they could see they looked at one another and were so repulsed that they ran off and lived the remainder of their lives in lonely misery.

Carl Jarvis ACB-L listserv

**20. Hi Carl, I agree with you. I have always told people that looks are only skin deep and that that is one thing about blind people. They usually do not care about the looks but go on personality and how well they get along. We might all be surprised what someone we think a lot about looks like if we could see them. As the story of the two beggars go, we might run away from our
best and beloved friends and or spouse.

That is not worth all the money in the world to see if that is what would happen.

Dee clayton ACB-L listserv

**21. Well now this is good. I myself must say there have been times I would love to see. But I know with implants this can't happen for me. When I hear traffic moving all of the time, I always wonder what it would be like to just get into the car and go. Would I feel like the rest of the crowd, I don't know. Since at this time vision won't happen for me. I do accept my blindness, and try to do what I have known to do for years. Wake up ready for a new day, and start it out the best I know how. I don't feel that science is taking advantage of anyone. With what they can do for limbs, why not try the eye. Thanks for the article.


**22. I would do almost anything ethical and legal to re-gain my eyesight, except I will not allow anyone to mess with my brain. That is the only really valuable personal asset I have. I am short, fat, and ugly, but my brain generally works better than most. So, nobody is going to mess with my brain!!

Ron M. Dr. Ronald E. Milliman, Professor of Marketing, Western Kentucky University

**President, South Central Kentucky Council of the Blind (SCKCB)

**23. This reminds me of some deaf people I have met, who refused to allow their deaf children to have cochlear implants because that would take them out of the so-called "deaf culture" and into the hearing world instead. I suppose, after similar devices become available to the blind, some blind parents will refuse to allow their blind children to have them because that would take them out of the so-called "blind culture" and into the sighted world. I, for one, will be first in line. Regards,

Don Moore RPlist

**24. This has indeed been a thought provoker for me. After reading it I found myself looking back over my life as a blind person and I realized that my attitudes about blindness have evolved through just about every stage that is described in this essay. Blind from birth, I spent my childhood and young adulthood with an attitude similar to that of Caroline. No one would ever come up with a cure for my blindness and that was that. I would maintain a happy attitude and never think about sight in connection with myself. As I grew a little older and my life became more complicated I had to acknowledge that I hated being slow and clumsy. I hated the transportation problems that I faced and I saw myself as someone who imposed on everybody around me. I developed the sarcastic attitude and sharp tongue of Mandy. The message I put out to the world was that they should just accept me warts and all and not expect me to change. Finally, in my early fifties I met and married the love of my life. Jon is a sighted man with a scientific turn of mind. He wondered why I didn't investigate the possibility that in over fifty years someone might have come up with a way of helping someone who was born prematurely and is blind, with a small amount of light perception to gain some usable sight. At first I was very uncomfortable with the idea of even thinking about this possibility. After several months of writing in my journal, talking to Jon and researching what actually happened in the 1950's when so many of us preemies were born I came up with my take on the idea of Eye Robot. I am perfectly content with my life as a blind person. I am happy with just about everything in my life. If someone came up with a device that could possibly give me usable vision I would be the ideal candidate for the experiments. If the experiment were to succeed I would have helped the world by opening up new possibilities for other children born blind and for people who are losing their sight due to age-related conditions. If the experiment were to fail and I remained blind I would have lost nothing. I could still be content with a loving husband, a happy home and the lessons I have learned throughout my life about blindness and many other things. One would hope that I wouldn't be out thousands of dollars as a result of this experiment. I could also choose to go on as I am without taking part in the experiment and be happy for those who decide they would like to go for it. I don't suffer as a blind person but I believe that there is much more to all of our lives than our blindness and we shouldn't close the door on the possibilities available to us without at least thinking about them.

Chris Coulter ACB-L list

**25. All of this is quite interesting. To me, all of us would see if given the choice; the differences are what price are we willing to pay and that would differ greatly among us. The one thing no one has mentioned is, if we were to see, how would we learn to use that sight. Scientifically, we know that we learn to use eye sight just as we learn
language. So, if one had not ever seen, then there would need to be rehabilitation programs to teach vision. Then perhaps that term used to identify the teachers in the public schools who teach blind children would have some real meaning, and that term is
"vision teacher" and currently, the term is a euphemism and if science really finds a way to bring vision/eye sight to the blind, that euphemism would suddenly have some actual meaning.

Seville Allen ACB-L listserv

**26. hi Seville, You make some rash assumptions here. First of all, most blind persons have had sight at some time in their lives, so the transition wouldn't be as drastic as you think. Also, the vast majority of those considered legally blind can see something, so the choice for them would hinge on how much improvement the device would produce. I might not feel that it is worth it if my vision would only increase from 20/800 to 20/500 for example.

Andy Baracco ACB-L listserv

**27. Well, this is an interesting article if only because I think this is an issue we may actually face or if not us certainly our children. You know it's interesting, when I was diagnosed back in the mid 1970's the doctors then told my parents that artificial vision may be a reality in 30 years. It's always been that 30 year number, oh that's about 30 years out, implanted devices should be available in 30 years. Well, it's 30 years and guess what, we're close and imagine the other types of devices that are implanted on a daily basis already today. I believe something like 8 vision systems have been installed in human subjects and have worked successfully all be it primitive. There are huge issues to over come though, someone mentioned education and while this is true we first need to figure out how to get the brain to learn to see in the first place. Imagine for a second having to learn to smell today, it's impossible to do. Your wiring just formed because your nose worked. Your eyes and my eyes weren't working thus no wiring. This is probably the big issue to overcome. I used to think the brain plasticity problem would be centuries off but with recent stem cell advances and such it may turn out to be a much more simple problem to solve. As for me and my take, sign me up! As it was put so well earlier you would probably find most people in the ready to go camp. For me, yes I would be willing to spend my last pennies on a system and or leverage myself up to my ears. If I'm ever in a position to have enough money to establish a foundation for research in this area one of the conditions would be that human trials would have to involve me first so yes, I'm willing to put my brain on the line for research. I don't view this device any differently than any other. There is no culture for folks who have unstable heart rhythms, no of course not they get pace makers. You don't have people refusing to get devices installed in their arteries to keep the blood flowing do you? Nor should anyone block or be threatened by the replacement of a defective ear with a device or an eye with an associated artificial vision system. If a Gene is bad, splice away. If my car head lights fail I don't swing a big pole out the front so I can drive at night, I get the electrical system addressed or the bulbs changed what ever needs to be done. Human illness / disability should be looked at the same way. And for the world owes me everything types, yes I'd support government funding of access to these devices. That's the kind of thing the government does well, the big stuff, landing on the moon, managing the money, curing the sick, defending the home land and so on. I do think this would artificially keep costs high but what's the cost of vision, 100,000 up front to a newly born child or a life time of rehabilitation, 70 percent failure rate and a weak standard of living. I say double down on that up front investment! Finally, my reasoning really has little to do with the transportation issues or the small stuff. I'm curious as hell. I'd like to see my son's face for example, the stars come to mind, the cute little Chinese girl that seats you at Peking house, you know the important stuff you can't put a value on. Work is easy, transportation takes creativity but there's no replacement for seeing your child. Nope when it comes to vision, count me in!

Scott Granados ACB-L listserv

**28. FYI... As I mentioned in a previous post, I had perfect sight until I was eight, partial sight until age seventeen, and then, blind until I re-gained my sight when I was several years older, and then, I lost it again, totally and permanently. Here is my point, after re-gaining my eyesight, having been blind for several years, I had to re-learn how to see all over again. The re-learning was rapid for the most part, and it really was the re-connecting of the wiring of my brain. For instance, when I was waiting to be released from the hospital following the restoration of my sight, I was sitting next to a large picture window that overlooked a large parking lot. My Mom asked me if I could see all of the cars out there in the parking lot. At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. I didn't see any cars at all. Then, suddenly a car moved, and it was like a switch had been flipped to the on position in my brain, and as soon as my brain perceived that movement and realized it was a car, and that is what a car look like, I saw a whole parking lot full of cars!! I had many similar experiences, but once the re-connection was established in my brain, I never had any more problems perceive that object, person, or correctly perceiving any given situation or object set.

Ron M. ACB[L listserv

**29. Have any of you seen the movie At First Sight. I will say this much about it because I don't want to give to much of it away if you have not seen it, it is an excellent movie. It is about a man who is blind and gains his sight back and the struggles he had. Like I said I do not want to say to much about what all happens. The article in the thought provoker made me think of this great movie.

Terri Goodrich ACB-L listserv

**30. I have RP, and from time to time, someone comes up with a cure. Once you could go to Russia, but you wouldn't know what was involved until you got there. It was probably one of the vitamin treatments we all know don't work. Then you could go to England, where they'd turn some magic bees on you and let them sting you. Don't think I could live with the PTSD. I do have some sight, so I'm not completely in the dark about what the world looks like. If they do come up with some kind of genetic modification, it may not be free. There's the risks of any procedure on your eyes, and do they really know they won't modify something about me that I don't want to be modified. On a really bad day, I'd give anything if only I didn't have to put up with the inconvenience, the social stigma and misunderstanding, the humiliation. On any old day, or a good day, sight just isn't the salvation it's cracked up to be.

Abby Vincent ACB-L listserv

**31. I view this provoker like Chris. I'm incredibly happy in my life. I love my wife deeply, and my kids give me more happiness, pleasure and joy than I thought possible. My work challenges me, and most days, I enjoy it. I have come up with work-arounds for most of life's activities, and I pride myself that while most Arizonans are complaining about the 110 degree heat and its impact on their comfort as they walk 10 feet from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned car and from the car to their air-conditioned place of employment, I can get all over town in the heat of the afternoon with my guide dog, him in his boots as we walk for blocks and blocks, wait for buses and make transfers. (By the way, this is really quite stupid, because who in their right mind would voluntarily hang out in the hot Arizona sunshine when it's 110 in the shade, but it's called coping, and we all must do it.) Nevertheless, if I could have a cure for my glaucoma, and even if it were only a partial cure, I would get in line, and unlike Carl, I would probably take out a third mortgage to do it (I already have a second mortgage). If I had even a little sight, I could do so many things that I can't do now--like look at my kids' drawings without having to ask them every little detail, browse bookstores and appreciate the beautiful colors of a sunrise or the beauty of a pretty girl--don't tell my wife as it's okay to just window-shop if you're not too obvious about it. If I could see, I could make wholly different choices about where to live and about my career. Like it or not, I'm limited professionally. It took me three years and a lot of luck and personal contacts to land my first transit job, and if I wanted to change fields, I'd have to start all over trying to convince some new set of people that my 15 years of professional and managerial experience outweighs their prejudices about me as a blind person. Put another way, I would have to start all over at the very bottom, and I can't afford to do that because of family obligations. If I were sighted, I would still be who I am today, but I'd do it differently. I'd still be a transit supporter, but we'd have a minivan so we could go camping. I'd live in the mountains because I really love the great outdoors, and I'd spend my days training dogs and doing woodworking projects. (As it stands, I don't know how to do woodworking, because where I lived, blind people could not get this sort of training, and I didn't know anyone who had the equipment or skills to teach me.)

Anyway, I'm happy, and if I had sight, I would probably have challenges that I can't imagine right now. However, those are chances I'd take in a heartbeat. I don't know if that makes me a weaker or less well adjusted blind person, but it's the truth for me.

BTW: I had limited sight as a child and was able to see a little until I was 14. I loved to look out the window when my family took car trips, and I was very good at drawing pictures--especially pictures of outdoor scenes. (I could actually draw in three dimensions.) I loved to look at anything from TV, to people and as I got into my teens at girls. (Good thing my wife is beautiful.) I played basketball, baseball and football, and I loved watching golf on TV. In short, I was very attuned to the visual world even as my own vision got worse and worse. To add insult to injury, as my sight faded, my parents (who were in denial) pushed me to use what I had to the point of physical pain. I remember being told that if I didn't use my vision, I would lose it, and if my parents didn't think I was trying hard enough, they would wrap a towel around my head so I could "see what being blind was like." They weren't very enlightened, but they really thought they were teaching me an important lesson about using what I had to the fullest extent possible. On the good side, they also pushed me very hard in school, and as a result, I excelled, and I was the first person out of my family to go to college, so I guess in their own weird way, they set me up for success.

So it may seem like I got off the track, but I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm a product of my blindness, and overall, it's been all right. However, if I could, I'd love to carry all of those good things which have accrued to me as a blind person and carry them with me into the full light and color of a life as a sighted person, if given half a chance. And if that never happens, I'm okay with that too, so I guess I'm a winner either way.

Ron Brooks ACB-L listserv

**32. I'm all for the surgery, I had my optic nerves severed around 20 years ago
and don't have any light perception, however, I would really have to think
this through a little bit before putting myself in severe debt. I would definitely like to see again even though I consider myself adjusted as well as anyone else who is the same amount of time.

Peace Luis

**33. "From what I've heard of these implants, their visual acuity isn't even as good as what I have right now. " That's the problem with most of the mechanical aids they aren't good enough yet. The technology is not there. I hope these inventors are clever enough to design something that truly replaces an eye. No half baked substitutes please. Even if us established blind don't give a fig for this stuff it would probably be a desirable option for the newly blinded. After all it's taken me years to gather all the alternative techniques that I use and it takes a certain amount of time to transfer my adaptations to a new environment. My whole department just moved and I am still sorting out the best way to get around without getting lost in cube land. Not that sight really helps as the company in all it's wisdom has dictated that the cube walls, filing cabinets and carpet must all be the same shade of gray. Ugh Here's to hopes and dreams!

Eileen NFB Blind parents mailing list

**34. Cubes also play tricks on us who use our ears for orientation. Unlike nice linear, predictable walls, they scatter the ambient noise in complex and unpredictable patterns.

The technology will get better -- a lot better. Like many blind people, I've adapted to the point that none of the gadgets around today will make much difference in 90 % of what I do, but I'm still really interested in seeing the technology improve. We even work on software to assist students with inherently visual tasks, and trust me, we've only scratched the surface.

Robert Shelton NFB Blind Parents mailing list

**35. I had a very interesting experience about a month ago. I have three friends, a couple and their daughter. They used to be my neighbors. The couple is deaf. Their daughter Irene is a hearing person, and she makes documentaries. Her parents both worked as professors at RIT/NTID. when they retired, some three years ago, they both decided to get cochlear implants. They wanted to do it together. Irene decided to document the process. What came out of this was a fantastic film which won the Audience award at the Sundance Film Festival this spring. It's called "Hear and now". Because I knew them, I got a special invitation to a private showing at RIT. Needless to say, RIT is fit to bust they're so proud! Anyway, I went to this film, and I'm still thinking about it a month later, folks. This couple had never really heard anything at all, and they all of a sudden got these implants that made it possible for them to do so. The film showed their life before and after the operation. It showed how they experienced sound, how wonderful and how annoying it was. It showed their disappointment when they could not understand speech. Sound came through just fine, so did human voices, but the ability to process the information to make it intelligible wasn't there.

So, of course, I got to thinking about my own life. What would sight, artificial sight do for me? How would it impact my life? What would I be able to do, or not do? Could I read? Could I drive? Could I identify the faces of friends? Could I comprehend a mountain view? What? Would I be disappointed? Would I want more? I think for me one of the most poignant moments in the film was just before their operation. The woman of the couple is out in her yard which is by Lake Ontario. She picks up a stick and breaks it, saying, "Does this make a sound?" Then she walks through dry leaves and again, "Does this make a sound?" This film brought up a whole lot of questions for me, some of them rather uncomfortable ones. I finally came to the conclusion that I really don't want sight because I'd have to spend so much time integrating the new sense into my life that I'd lose a year or more of what time I have left in this world. I'm not sure I'd want to do that, folks. Now, for somebody who had lost their sight, the answer might be different. However, for me, the answer is no, not unless God does it. If He did it, he'd rewire my brain so it would parse things right. Sorry for the length of this post. If anyone is interested in more data about this film, just write me privately.

Ann K. Parsons FL Blind-X listserv

**36. This is interesting. I was approached about this topic once when I went to a convention for an essay contest in which I wrote something about JAWS. I don't really have anything to say about it. I applaud Stevie Wonder for his attempts to get a implant in his eyes. But I won't be surprised if it doesn't work for those who have been blind since birth or don't have eyes at birth.

Beth Taurasi NFB NABS mailing list

**37. I've actually done a great deal of thinking on this subject. I know a great deal of blind people who would resent someone who took steps to "save" their sight, or get some vision back. I used to be one of those people. It is true that I wouldn't want vision. I think this is for two reasons; 1, I have always been blind. I have Lebers, and while I used to have some functional vision, for all intensive purposes, I've always been blind, and will probably lose the rest of my sight by the time I'm thirty. I have never really been able to read print, or safely use my vision to get around. I like who I am, and there is a reason for my blindness. 2, I'm honestly afraid; afraid of sight just as I'm sure many sighted people are afraid of blindness. I've always done things the "blind way," and learning how to live would be a more difficult adjustment than people realize.

I am proud to be blind, but I no longer resent people for wanting to see. I finally realized that if someone wants to see again one day, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily ashamed of their blindness. Everyone's story is unique, and honestly, I think if I once had sight, I would probably miss it.

Do I want to spend my entire life searching desperately for a cure for my eye disease? No. But I do not think that developing technology like this is wrong. Just because I am blind, secure in that fact, and will lead a fully productive life doesn't mean I would want others to be blind if something medical can help them. Blindness is a physical
nuisance, but I don't think it's wrong to hope for a day when people
are not faced with it.

That said, I do dislike the way the media treats blindness as a
tragedy, or a curse of some kind. But that's another topic for another

Briley Pollard NFB NABS mailing list

**38. On the new thought provoker. My story is that I was virtually totally blind until I was about eighteen or nineteen, then a Professor discovered that I should have been given glasses after my cornea transplant at six. I was given them, and have spent an awful lot of my life trying to make sense of what I see around me. As time goes on, my vision improves, then I have to wait for my brain to catch up. I have had no help from my family who never wanted me to wear glasses because they couldn't cope with having me look blind or vision impaired, and as long as I didn't look blind or vision impaired, that suited them just fine. So I have taught myself, a long process, and now learn along with my kids. Gaining vision as an adult or after you have lived virtually blind or blind for a very long time cannot be taken lightly. It brings a whole set of issues of its own.

Lisa-Maree Blind-X listserv

**39. Eye RobotI think all the participants in this scenario had important things to say here, and I, for one, while I am curious about what it would be like to have full sight, really don't have much investment in that. I understand that this kind of sudden vision represented by this implant, could be frightening and over stimulating for people. Try and imagine, all of a sudden, the sun being so bright that you can't look at it, cars and buses and trucks zooming by you, probably looking huge and far too close. And the buildings!! And the people, especially in the city, maybe seeming a little too close, and trying to complete a job application only to find that you are functionally illiterate because all you see is these lines and loops that are print letters, but you don't know what the individual letters are supposed to look like. I have heard of situations in which the person who suddenly could see because of surgery chose to act as a blind person again because it was just too much. We can't blame the inventors, they mean well. But I suspect as angry and bitter as Mandy sounds, one can't completely discount what she has to say. She is in that stage of rebellious independence Dr. Kenneth Jernigan talked about once, angry, "throwing the nickel" back at the sighted person, not needing any help at all, etc. But there is a certain segment of our society that doesn't get it, that thinks that all one has to do is invent the correct implant, surgery, whatever, and blindness will be cured, but they can't see past that, to the possible psychological consequences that formerly blind person might be paying. Worse, I think there is an increasing sentiment in our society that says that if you are not perfect in how you function, we have no use for you in our culture, and, unfortunately, I think this excitement about these kinds of new inventions or the right technology that will make everything perfect, speaks to that. Well guess what, folks, it won't make everything perfect. Technology is a wonderful thing, when it works, but as human beings we are much more complex than some of us who swear by such technology would have us believe.

Mark Tardif Stuart Florida

**40. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if I had the opportunity to regain my sight, I'd go for it. I know this isn't going to happen in my lifetime and I have accepted it probably to the extent possible, but given the chance, you better believe I'd go for it. How would I adapt? Learn to ee? The same way I've adapted and learned everything else difficult that I've ever been faced with--just do it, I suppose. The difference would be, I would know this one would have light and permit me to do the things I really, really want to do in the end. The other difficult things I've adapted to have made me stronger, a better person, taught me things, etc. but they haven't given me what I really, really want in the end. My first love has always been to be a veterinarian and search and rescue person with dogs; neither of which I felt I could truly and absolutely do as a self-reliant person who is blind. Yes, I could learn it, then get a sighted person perhaps, but that isn't good enough and so I chose to do another thing which I love but is not my first choice nor my first love. So having my sight would permit me to do those things. And let me tell you, this whole week while hoping to find my little one, I tried to find a person with a search & rescue dog to find her. Problem is that the S&R dogs in this area aren't trained that way because they are not lost pet tracking dogs. I understand that and it doesn't / didn't help me one little bit. But my dog would have been a lost pet tracking dog because that is what my specific area of interest is and would be. But without sight, it is impossible.

Am I miserable as a blind person? No. I'm just not totally fulfilled because I'm not doing all I truly want to be doing.

Jessie ACB-L listserv

**41. This Provoker tackles a complex and highly emotionally charged issue. Here's my two cents' worth:I can certainly sympathize with the observation that some if not many fully sighted and able bodied folks consider those of us with one or more disabilities to be helpless, incompetent, even useless or worthless. Such wrongheaded notions must be countered wherever and whenever possible, both by each of us in our lives and by society as a whole. It is not easy. Sometimes even kind, well-meaning people evince these wrong ideas, and I understand very well how hard countering them can be. Still, for our own comfort and dignity as well as for the sake of solidarity with our blind and otherwise disabled sisters and brothers, we need to do what we can to show that, however much physical assistance and accommodation we need, we are grownup, responsible, competent people to be valued and respected just like any other person.

At the same time, I get a charge out of those who are aggressively proud of their blindness/visual impairment to the point of being actively hostile to sighted people and the sighted world. Mandy asserts that she doesn't need sighted people and their gadgets. Yet, sighted people invented some of the aids she takes for granted and sighted people manufacture, produce or provide all the goods and services she relies on in her life.

It is true that a blind man invented Braille. But, sighted people build and sell braillers, slates and embossers. Sighted people produce Brailled products, such as magazines, books and playing cards. Sighted people, alongside blind people or independently, create, develop and/or sell assistive computer hardware and software. Sighted people record NLS and commercial audio books. Sighted people build adaptive electronics and other equipment, such as NLS adapted tape decks, talking or large display clocks and watches, etc. Sighted people drive the cars and buses we all ride in. Not to mention, some sighted people train guide dogs, teach blind children and adults, and write, pass and enforce disability rights laws.

In short, I have had the misfortune to come across one or two people like Mandy, "Professional Blind People," I call them to myself. They are indeed very poor ambassadors for us as a group. I have noticed that they also demand that everybody adopt their view and do everything their way. well, that's not how the world works. Each individual has unique circumstances and needs. A guide dog might be best for one person for a time or permanently, a white cane for another. Similarly, even if the bionic eye discussed in this provoker were perfected and could give 20/20 or near 20/20 vision to the recipient, there is no guarantee that the device would be appropriate for all persons with impaired vision or total blindness. Thus, as so often, here we don't have an either/or dichotomy or a case for some sort of mandate.Rather, we have yet another tool to be considered by the patient and her/his doctor if circumstances Kerry Elizabeth Thompson Springfield ngfield, Massachusetts

Here's another thought provoker that evokes the same type of ho-hum response from me as did the last one. Vision vs blind; ability vs disability; light vs dark; etc.; ad vomitum; forever.

Would I consider an implant? No--forget it--I don't want any of those things in my head!

Would I consider some sort of non-invasive eye robot thing? Well, I'd maybe consider it, but only if the following conditions were met. It would have to work and be inconspicuous. It would have to relieve me of the burden of cane or dog use, and of all of the negative things that those imply. It would have to leave me with a sense of my feeling accepted, without all of the ignorant and arrogant bs from other people that we blind usually get, and, in our dumbed-down society, all of the ignorance, arrogance, and narcissism just seems to be worsening.

Otherwise, forget it, as I will deal with what i am used to, and a big fat spitting phooey on the rest.

Am I dreaming? Yes, but, too bad.

Mark Blier, Sierra Vista, Arizona

**42. As someone born totally blind, I am often asked if I want my sight back. I generally respond that I would not want “my” sight back any more than I would want “my” penis back. I was born both totally blind and totally female, and I have never seen a reason to change either.

Karen in Berkeley

...FROM ME: Guess I'd not want my boobs, either. (If I had been born a woman, then fine. But is she mixing in apples for oranges?)

**43. I would like to see colors again, I could do without bright light that makes me tear up. I think I am too long without vision though to easily become sighted again. It sort of reminds me of the strange man getting off a bus that I asked which bus he got off who kept demanding that I seek healing. When I said I was really okay and just wanted to know the bus origin, he told me I should be ashamed to be blind. None of this is easy and I think whether you are talking about some hard wired gizmo or gene therapy, it will be useful to some and not others. My world is a beautiful place full of sound, texture and flavor. Color would be nice to have, but not if it meant risk to my health, my financial security or turning me into an even less human seeming cyborg.

DeAnna Quietwater MO

**44. I think this is an interesting Thought Provoker, as I believe that we will soon be seeing sight restored to the Blind, but I am curious as to whether it will be a Bio-Therapy with new retinal cells, or if it will be technological, with a computer chip type of device. Also, I suspect that eventually nearly all of the doubters will accept the treatment, and there will be few who actually refuse it due to a so-called culture to Blindness, or because of initial fears of sight, which will takefolks out of their "comfort zone" which they may have developed in response to their Blindness. I also have thought that despite what doctors say about those who have never seen not being able to see after their sight is restored may not be true to all. I think that if sight is revealed slowly after restoring it, thus teaching the mind to see, would allow someone to be able to understand the visual information being presented to the brain.

I have RP, and I believe that I have done a respectable job of adaptingto my Blindness, and I also feel that I have gained much from my experience as a Blind person. It seems to me that we develop new synaptic connections, or we can if we allow ourselves, when we lose our sight. When we get our sight back, I think that some old synaptic connections will be reactivated, and new ones will be created, but in a new way as to broaden our minds and imaginations. Just as it is believed that mental exercises are good for keeping our minds healthy as we age, this should be good at stimulating our minds and keeping us sharp.

No matter how much we have adapted to our Blindness, nobody can argue that Blindness does not cause an inconvenience in our lives. For example, I had a few years of driving before I decided to stop, and I know how handy it is to drive, but the issue of driving does not define my independence, but it does effect my independence. I do not spend time wishing I had my sight back, nor am I bitter about losing my sight, as I mentioned before, I have gotten much from doing things non-visually, and I know that those skills will always be of benefit to me if I get my sight back. Yes, I would accept the opportunity to have my sight back, but it would be more for the sake of pleasure than for functionality. I find that there is little that I cannot do as a Blind person, and I am often gratified at being able to do what I want to do, sometimes in a slightly different manner than I would with sight.

Glenn Ervin, Northeast Nebraska

**45. I wanted to say that even when I don't put my 2¢ in, I always read your thought provokers with great interest, because they really do give one pause for some hard thinking. Most of them have no easy answers. In this case, I thought back to another thought provoker of several years ago, where surgery helped a woman to see, but it actually made her life more difficult. If one has lived without sight for so many years, life can indeed become difficult with that sight: having to learn to read print and script; having to learn the meanings of facial expressions and equate them with the tones of voices; and perhaps hardest of all, navigating one's way through the sighted maze with people and traffic swirling around one. I imagine a person would experience spatial disorientation, confusion and even nausea from motion sickness and the stress of all the visual sensations coming at him at once. It takes babies a year or more to learn to walk and coordinate all the necessary muscles with their brains, and that in a presumably safe environment. To drop a newly-sighted adult into an everyday world must be terrifying at the very least.

Carolyn Clearwater, FL

**46. I lost my sight at 23 and it wasn't easy to adjust to. However, I have learned a great many things that I wouldn't have learned if I were not blind. I have met many blind people that I never would have walked upto if I had sight. I would have been to scared. I have come to have much understanding with people with all kinds of problems (deaf, heart, blind, etc...) now that I am blind myself. I have learned to have much needed patience too. I have loved not judging one by what they wear or if their short or tall, etc... I go by inner beauty and it has brought many benefits to my life. I never would have found this Thought Provoker site either, if I weren't blind. I personally would not get the Eye Robot for I don't want my life to change now that I am a better person. I have three daughters and they don't treat anyone differently no matter what they look like or if they have a disability or not. I want them to know that life can go on, no matter what is thrown at you. What's important is what you make of it and how you can be inspiring to someone else that is going through a rough time too. Hospice helped me learn how to take care of my Mother when I brought her home to pass on. I took care of her for almost 9 months before she passed away. At first, I didn't know if I'd be able to. But with my determination, I did it. Because of my blindness, I knew something was wrong with my Mom. She didn't sound right to me. My loving husband didn't see anything wrong and neither did my sighted girls. My Mom was having a stroke. When I told my husband something was wrong and we needed to take her to the E.R. he never questioned it. The Doctor took one look at her and told me that she was having a stroke. The Doctor saw that her face was drooping and knew. Even today, I can tell when someone is coming down with a cold, before they even feel it. I can hear things that my family cannot, I can smell something before my family can. I don't want to lose what I have gained by being blind. However, I would back anybody up if they so choose to get an Eye Robot. For it is our own personal choice in life on what we decide to do or not to do. I was fortunate to have had sight at one time and I can see it in my mind, when something is described to me. I still have my "off days" but then again, so does every single person on Earth.

Marsha Springer Centreville, MI

**47. After reading some responses, I forward the following to those who do not want to be bothered with vision of any kind. I had perfect vision until age 51 when I lost it and my son in an auto accident. For those who wish to remain in blindness, I offer the following: I have crossed the Aegean Sea on a full moon and seen a million stars reflecting on the vastness of our world; I have seen Big Ben and a rebuilt London; I have seen a million faces and could judge their trustworthiness at a glance; I have traveled a million miles and seen every geological feature in the United States, Mexico, and Europe; I have walked through Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam and felt hot tears fall down cheeks as I understood the fear of those times; I have seen the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the tombs of the saints; I have seen the great sights of Amsterdam, Paris, London, Rome, Athens, Bonn, Mexico City, and the Aztec ruins among many other wonders; I have seen pain, poverty, horror, and crime galore; I have seen and understood poverty and despair; I have learned 10 times faster, 10 times easier, and 10 times more pleasantly; I have seen a great world, created by God to show His glory, and have seen a million children who brightened up every single day; I have hired thousands of people based on my vision without an error but have been far less successful in hiring as a blind man: The first perception, visual, is critical in personnel work; I have laughed when I have seen others laugh far from me; I have cried when I saw others cry far from me; I understand what an ocean, a mountain, a valley, a beach, a desert, and a river are and can visualize the world because of my earlier sight; I have been a full citizen of the world with vision, a incomplete person of the world without it; I have soared into great heights on vision and I will soar to greater heights without it: But the going is rougher, the path not straight and treacherous, and evil lurks all along the way.

I am reminded of The Impossible Dream To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe, To bear with unbearable sorrow, To run where the brave dare not go, To right the unrightable wrong, To love pure and chaste from afar, To try when your arms are too weary, To reach the unreachable star, This is my quest, To follow that star, No matter how hopeless, No matter how far, To fight for the right, Without question or pause, To be willing to march into Hell, For a heavenly cause, And I know if I'll only be true, To this glorious quest, That my heart will lie peaceful and calm, When I'm laid to my rest, And the world will be better for this, That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with his last ounce of courage, To reach the unreachable star

Dr. Scott Bray AZ

**48. Blind people never appear for healing because they do become content in a world of a few blocks instead of 24,0000 miles- but that is the life of a serf- not a full and functioning human being

Is this person serious? Since I married David, who is blind, I've traveled all over this country, as well as a trip out of country. I would never have gone on my own. I guess this proves a doctor's vision is simply too limited, sighted or not.

Lori Stayer Merrick New Yourk

**49. When I was younger, I thought of how fun it would be to be able to see. Out of all the things sighted people can do, the one thing I wanted to be able to do the most was to drive. Now at thirty seven years old, while it would be nice to be able to drive, being able to see is not a foremost wish. After going to eye doctors and discussing the possibilities and different methods only to be given bad news that there was no way or that the likelihood was slim, I finally gave up on any possibilities altogether. John wishes that I could see, but it's not because he's ashamed of my being blind. Rather, he thinks that it would be neat for me to be able to see what he can see. I, too, get fleeting thoughts of wishing that I could see, but it really is not worth my time and money to investigate the possibilities and methods. Besides, the idea of any kind of surgery scares the hell out of me.

Linda USA

**50. My thoughts on this are firm and definite: I’m simply not ready for a robotic eye. People who want to pray for the “restoration” of my sight don’t tend to realize that my circuitry would be fried by the sudden onslaught of alien electrical impulses to my brain. Can I envision that I just might have to get it anyway if blindness ever becomes largely a thing of the past? Yes, but then I guess expedience rather than a real desire to see will govern my actions.

Now Dr. Bray (response #7) is probably right that those of us who have never had sight don’t know what we’re missing. Fine. Okay. I get that. I only had extremely limited sight for the first fourteen years of my life. What with school, family, friends, my music and all the other stuff attendant in being a kid, I guess I was kinda busy. Maybe there was a time when I hoped to have more sight than I did, but you wanna know what happened after I lost it all? I got on with life. I played in more bands, went to high school, graduated, went to college and law school, lived and worked in Manhattan for seventeen years, got married,, moved to Minneapolis. In the interim I’ve also been to California, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, South Bend, Battle Creek, Buffalo, Canada, Washington, D.C., Atlantic City, Cape Cod and even Poland with a quick stop in Frankfurt, Germany. (I’d show you my five-fennig coin to prove that, but I gave it to my mother.) I don’t drive a car, but I don’t want to. I do not see the faces of those I love, but I hear their voices, and that to mee is every bit as valuable. I know when they’re happy, sad, angry, etc. I can say with more pride than I probably should have that if you placed me in the middle of an unfamiliar city, I’d be able to figure it out after a while and make it my home if need be. But I do it because I’m too busy living life as opposed to pining away for something I never really had. I haven’t been everywhere in the world there is to be, but I hope that I’ve demonstrated by virtue of the places I have been that I am not a serf. Nonetheless, if Dr. Bray wishes to be one, I respect his right to do so. But you’ll never see me present myself for “healing” because (a) there’s nothing really wrong with me, and (b) I’m just too damned busy. So get over yourself!

John D. Coveleski, Minneapolis, MN

**51. The only way I'd risk having the Eye-robot implanted is:

1.-When the visual acuity is nearly normal vision that would allow me to do two things I've always dreamed I could do someday: drive a car and being able to get my hands on whatever print material wanting to read instead of depending on others reading to me or on reading scanned material.

2.-After the device underwent the phases and approved by a competent health organization that it's safe to wear (similar to what I'd like to imagine the cochlear implant had to go through before it's approval and commercial use).

3.-After hearing of others' experience with the eye-robot.
Only after these conditions give, I'd give into such risky procedure. Surely many of you blind from birth have had at least some curiosity of what's it like to see colors, people faces and other day to day objects? While such eye-robot becomes available, I'd recommend reading Michael May's book Crashing Through in which his descriptions of what it's like to see after being blind for nearly all his life are so vivid that those times are when at least I'd long for an eye-robot to see for myself.

Lastly I'd like to leave this question in the air: When a deaf person gets a cochlear implant is he/she still considered deaf even when hearing returns thanks to the implant? this leads to the question of when and if we ever get implanted with the eye-robot what would our status be: blind or sighted?

Gerardo; Tampico, Mexico