Sensory Substitution and Augmentation

This post was originally written on Sunday, 24 August 2013.
A question I have for the blind community at large is: Many of the sighted people wonder if blind people can see in their dream. The answer depends on how much development is active in their visual cortex. If, on the other hand, there is no development, then that person would not be able to dream vision because it would not be able to associate what vision is when they wake up.
If you, having an early visual deprivation, that is to say, vision for an extremely short amount of time had developed vision during your subconscious stage when you think of everything as dreams, and disembodied memories from when you were two, then you suddenly lose your vision when you are three, then your brain would have had some development but not a lot. Due to this, people have excellent spacial awareness through tactile, auditory, and vestibular stimulation. Plus, they have superior memories. So it makes it easier for a person to rewire their brains to become a synaesthete, and also the genetic influence of the brain’s processing speed and neuroplasticity rates would have to be considered as a possible factor. So is it possible to extract these hidden images from the subconscious and bring them into the conscious by use of brain wave entrainment sessions like hypnotism? Can we make you, having low vision for almost all of your life dream that you have perfect vision?
People are already trying to unlock the secret of people’s minds by listening to their reversed speech (David John Oates), so if we can do that then we can find out more. This part might sound more like pseudoscience.
To be able to hear colour, one must have a way- above-average musical aptitude and perfect pitch perception. A question is, is pitch perception universal? We know that tastebud mapping is not universal. So how do we know that what light looks like to one person might look different to another? Same with sound.
When it comes to choosing to use a cochlear implant, it will remain with you for life. If one wore the implant and a few years later a medical breakthrough found ways to regenerate cochlear hair cells, the rig would have to be destroyed, and there would be the risk of accidental nerve damage, which might cause one to lose taste, balance and other vital senses and motor abilities for a short while.
It is easy for a person to be implanted at an extremely early age than it is for an adult. This is because the implant produces distorted sounds that have little colour and are mainly in grey scale noise variety. What I would like to propose is a new rehabilitation system that would allow users to wear a simulated implant, and they would use it in real-life situations and would understand about all of its uses. If they are happy with the switch it would make the process easier.
I am a humanist and believe it is up to the person to decide based on their morale and not their superstition. There are so many things one can appreciate without having to go through invasive surgery to be able to see or hear, if that is their wish. Some people think blindness as being a good thing because they use their other senses to really grasp onto concepts sighted people cannot grasp. Some people believe that having a condition such as blindness is a bad thing because no matter how much we try to make the world accessible, there are always going to be problems. Some feel ambivalent, meaning they are neutral. This is because we are taught how to see as our primary sense, therefore we have not rewired our brains to combine the three most vital senses, sight, sound, and touch into one whole.
We should raise awareness about the need to think twice about what we have done throughout humanity, and realise there could be more. While I do not believe in using cybernetic compounds and using advanced technology and prefer to older things, I have faith in the medical science system that it can be done, such as regenerative medicine and gene therapy. This is because I am pursuing a career that a lot of blind people usually do not pursue; they usually work on information and computer technology, engineering in audio-related fields and things like that.
So, this is open to anyone who wants to make their voice heard about the need for improvement in the human race.

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