Fink’s technique doesn’t require new hardware, so patients wouldn’t face new surgeries. “It’s like downloading a new driver for a printer,” says Fink. “You still have the same printer, but all of a sudden, you have new capabilities.”
Patients would simply download an update onto the external device already connected to their implants, giving their microprocessors new instructions on how to stimulate the electrodes.
It might be a while before today’s patients see the benefits, but good sci-fi technology is always worth the wait. “Sometimes you have to swim upstream to get a new breakthrough,” Fink says.
[This article originally appeared in print as "I Can See Clearly Now."]