Elizabeth Goldring, an artist and poet at MIT, has struggled with varying degrees of blindness for decades. She had been functionally blind for many months when her doctor used a scanning laser opthalmoscope (SLO) to focus a laser beam onto her retina. He projected the word "sun" directly onto Goldring's retina, and for the first time in many years, she could see a word clearly. "After not having seen anything for many months, I was amazed," she told __The Scientist__. Immediately, she saw the possibilities for the blind. She contacted Robert Webb, the inventor of the SLO and a physicist at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Harvard, and the two began working to build a "seeing machine." Over the past 20 years, they have created many prototypes. The first seeing machine was bulky, cost $200,000, and could only display black and white images. The latest version, the...

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