Jan 2017

BY David Bach, MD


Seeing With Your Tongue

Erik Weihenmayer has climbed to the highest point on each of the world’s seven continents, including Mount Everest. That’s an impressive feat for anyone. In Erik’s case, it’s particularly impressive, because his eyes don’t work. Most people would say Erik is blind. But that’s not completely true. It’s more accurate to say Erik can’t see with his eyes.

But thanks to technology, Erik can and does see.

When Erik climbs, he wears something called the BrainPort V100, a device recently approved by the FDA that translates digital images from a video camera into electrical signals that get transmitted to Erik’s tongue. And because Erik has re-wired his brain to have functional neural pathways between his tongue and his visual cortex, the electrical signals he takes in on his tongue get translated into 3-dimensional images in his brain.

In other words, Erik sees. Not with his eyes, but with his tongue.

Well Said



Why Should I Care?

If you are reading this post, your eyes probably work. But even if you can see perfectly, this story matters to you, because it’s emblematic of a massive paradigm shift that, when you adopt it, can offer you a meaningful edge.


Most of us conceive of technology as something outside ourselves. Something we use.

In Erik’s case, though, consider this: the distinction between man and machine is not so well-defined. In a very real way, the BrainPort V100 has now become so integrated with the neural circuitry in Erik’s brain, it has become part of who he is.

Technology’s role has now taken another massive step forward. Today, we’re evolving into a completely new paradigm where humans are beginning to merge with technology – to become an amplified version of ourselves.

The BrainPort V100 is only one example of how machines and humans are beginning to fuse. Literally hundreds of technologies – funded by billions of dollars – are either available today or coming to the market soon that, by becoming part of us, will augment our mental and physical capacities in myriad ways.

As with all technological innovations that require a paradigm shift in thinking, uptake by the general public of performance-amplification technologies will likely be slow for the next decade. On the other hand, for early adopters, the advantages promise to be immense.

What If?

What would happen if you started to think about your relationship with technology differently? What if you looked at the technology available to you as a potential extension of yourself?

Something you can use to fundamentally alter who you are… say to make yourself smarter or stronger or faster? How would that change your life? How much closer would that get you to your goals and dreams?

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