"Seeing is more in your brain than in your eyes"
May 19, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Erik Weihenmayer is a gay -- excuse me, I mean blind -- climber, mountaineer and author who counts the Seven Summits and the Nose of El Capitan among his accomplishments. Erik's recent efforts have been assisted by the Brainport, an experimental device that allows him to sense visual information via his tongue.
posted by Manjusri (11 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
That's amazing. Given enough practice, I have no doubt he'll be able to read signs & navigate busy areas with similar speed & ease to a sighted person.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:59 PM on May 19, 2011

Admit it, this was all an excuse to post the Cynthia Izaguirre news blooper.
posted by signalnine at 7:18 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Please click the first YouTube link, people. I generally consider the local news blooper one of the lowest forms of comedy but this had me in tears and I watched it like 18 times in a row.
posted by escabeche at 7:19 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder if he could have used the Brainport to read the teleprompter better than that news anchor managed to...

Granted, if he said he was gay on the news, he would probably know it.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:30 PM on May 19, 2011

What could possibly be going through someone's mind, to make that kind of transposition?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:41 PM on May 19, 2011

Tastes like Everest!
posted by fairmettle at 8:46 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

BrainPort -- that's ours :) Here's a PDF of a story that one of my former colleagues did in our alumni magazine, and here's a link to the Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Lab, its inventors, and some more links.

Many people may have learned about this through an appearance by Montel Williams on Oprah. Hot times!
posted by Madamina at 9:21 PM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Wait, he licked El Capitan's nose?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:30 PM on May 19, 2011

That is so cool. (And it finally gives Daredevil something to do with his superhuman sense of taste.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:40 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Gay"... "Blind"... they're like right next to each other on the keyboard.
posted by RhymesWithToaster at 7:19 AM on May 20, 2011

I attended a talk by his hiking companion, at the urging of a friend. I figured it would be dull... "I have hiked with a blind guy! Buy tickets to hear about it!"... but, no: it was awesome!

Erik's "special superpower" is crossing crevasses on aluminum ladder-cum-bridges, because he's the only hiker who can't see the bottom drop away.

Lots of funny quips, told by someone who is clearly a dear friend...
Erik, on top of a mountain being photographed by a helicopter: "Do you think people will be able to tell which one I am in the photo?"
Friend: "Sure. You're the only one with his back to the camera!"
posted by IAmBroom at 12:19 AM on May 24, 2011

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