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I'm writing a little article and need any information about how human vision works and latest technologies and discoveries around. Actually its not a professional article. Its for a group of my friends.

In fact I'm looking for any possible way to make someone ACTUALLY see when their eyes are closed. I don't know maybe convince some of brain cells that a real pulse is coming from eyes, but in reality its coming from a computer; or something like that.

I call it a virtual vision, myself.

Do you guys know if there's any professional article, discoveries or technologies available about this topic? I'm very very interested in this topic by the way.

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One side note: even with eyes "closed", light penetrates your eye lids, and you can see things. Of course they are very very blurry. – Memming Apr 1 '13 at 14:47
Two weeks ago, I watched this video.… In here, how this guy sense the things around him is not clear (it says he uses echo location to navigate, but is it really true?). However it is an interesting documentary. I hope this will help you as a different example. – Armacino Apr 1 '13 at 20:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, this is most certainly possible and already being done. As long as the visual cortex of the brain (in the occipital lobe, i.e. at the back of your head) is functional, the correct stimulation will produce visual perception.

In cases of blindness caused by malfunction of the retina, meaning that the rest of the visual pathway is functional, this is the most promising approach to restoring vision. See Visual prosthesis and the TED talk on it.

"Virtual vision" as in projecting a whole field of vision (reflecting the real surroundings) is the big ideal target that this technology is aiming for. Of course as soon as they manage to make a working prosthesis for blind people, someone will probably try to make it non-invasive and easily usable for commercial exploitation.

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I am not an expert on this subject, but essentially what you would need is to have a machine interface directly with neurons.

Neuro-mechanical interface is something which interests many scientists but unfortunately we are only at extremely early stages - even getting accurate readings from a single neuron in vivo is a very challenging task. To achieve virtual vision you would need both technology to accurately interface with many many neurons and to fully understand how the neurons encode visual information. I think these are huge challenges so it will probably take a while to get there.

Until then I guess we will have to stick with VR glasses...

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One of the things that you could also consider are the experiments done with LSD: if I recall correctly, LSD (or drugs coming from certain mushrooms) cross your neural circuits. You end up "smelling what you see", and "seeing what you smell", etc. In this sense, you would be able to see with your eyes closed, although this is a very particular (yet, interesting) case

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