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Excerpted from a paper published by Hugh Darrow in American Scientific in 2010.
Many of you may not have heard of Dr. Dobelle. Doctor Dobelle is a doctor from New York whose specialty is in designing artificial organs. Several years ago, he embarked a project to implement an artificial eye which could transmit information straight into the occipital lobe of the brain. (For those of you still new to neuroscience, the occipital lobe is one of four lobes in the human brain. It is located at the back of the head and is responsible mostly for our visual processing.)
The goal for Dr. Dobelle was to create an implant with an electrode array and surgically insert it onto the surface of the occipital lobe's visual cortex. This way, the camera could transmit straight to the brain instead of to the eye, and hopefully create a more complex image than what can be achieved by a retinal implant. The procedure was very costly to perform, costing approximately $80,000. After working hard to raise money, an experimental patient who had lost his vision 20 years prior was finally able to undergo it. So, after allowing this patient ten days in recovery, Dr. Dobelle attempted to stimulate the electrodes which were now attached to the surface of his visual cortex.