Scientific American Frontiers


  • Season 15
  • , Episode 9  | 
  • Aired: 4/6/2005
    • Length: 27:17
    • Plays: ???
Synopsis >

Alan catches up with Kelley Flynn, whom he saw three years ago as she was undergoing surgery for a cochlear implant. At the time, Kelley was seven, and desperately wanted to both hear and speak normally. Alan recalls the dramatic moment when Kelley's artificial hearing was first turned on. Since then Kelley has worked hard on her speech and now, as she tells Alan, she wants to become an actress. Inspired by the success of cochlear implants for the profoundly deaf, many researchers are now trying to develop artificial retinas for those who are blind due to retinal diseases. Alan visits the team at the Doheny Eye Institute of the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he meets Terry Byland, one of only six patients testing an experimental retinal implant. Alan watches as Terry's artificial vision - a white flickering fuzzy light - is tested, and tries out for himself some simulations of how future retinal implants may one day allow the blind to read.

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