Tomorrow is Today

I heard yesterday about an amazing new capability while on a conference call reviewing new opportunities - enabling the blind to "see" and process images in the brain merely by laying a specialized, charged plate on the tongue - which short-circuits or "hacks" the optic nerve.

In a way, the innovation is reminiscent of the dagguerotype, a process first invented in 1839 by the scientist Daguerre, that same year John Herschel (descendant of William Herschel) was the first to use the word "photography."

the first American daguerrotype

Interestingly, the ability to take a picture dates back to 1000 and the Arab natural philosopher Ibn Al-Haytham, born in the city of Basra who introduced the sun camera, or camera obscura-also the name of a band. al-Haytham wrote the first important treatise on Optical systems, called "Book of Optics" (often considered the second most important early work on physics after Newton's Principia) and sketched the behavior of rays of light through a pinhole as is represented below. Amongst Medieval thinkers he was often called Ptolemaeus Secundus, or Ptolemy the Second, after the famous Alexandrian scientist of antiquity, Claudius Ptolemy, since he, like Ptolemy, conducted scientific work for patrons who were the rulers of Egypt.

rays of light and Arabic characters

The researcher's experimentation in itself reawakened concepts outlined in the 4th century B.C.E. by the philosopher Aristotle, Alexander the Great's tutor, incidentally.

Illustration of a camera obscura in use, Italy.

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