After being blind for more than 20 years, Chris James is regaining the gift of sight thanks to a computer chip implanted at the back of his eye.
The 54-year-old is the first British patient to be fitted with the new chip, which is similar to those found in cell phone cameras, Sky News reported. The treatment was developed for people who, like James, suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that destroys the retina over time.
The chip, developed by German company Retina Implant AG, was inserted behind James’ retina at Oxford University Eye Hospital as part of a clinical trial that will be carried out on up to 12 patients.
The implant allows James to see blurry outlines of shapes, and perceive light and darkness, by helping the body convert light that comes in through the eye into the electrical pulses that the brain interprets as images.
So far, James has been able make out the outlines of objects when he looks at them up close. His brain will need time to learn how to make sense of the new information, and doctors expect he may recognize faces in time.
A second patient, Robin Millar, has since received a chip. The 60-year-old music teacher told the BBC he is able to detect light coming in through the windows of a room, and has started dreaming in color for the first time in 25 years.
“It’s the first time that British patients who were completely blind have been able to see something,” Professor Robert MacLaren, one of the doctors leading the trial, told the BBC.
A Finnish man was the first to test out one of the experimental chips in 2010, though that version of the device only worked inside a lab. The implant being used in the British clinical trial is portable.
“This isn’t a cure, but it might put the world into some perspective and some imagery for me, rather than just a black world,” James told Sky News.
Operators of a Chinese cable car are cracking down on a craze for mid-air sex romps among young couples.Apparently at the bidding of local officials, they have put up a sign banning people from having sex while riding in their cable cars.
The ban has been introduced at a gondola ride at a popular mountain beauty spot, in Henan Province.
“Following numerous complaints, authorities were apparently forced to step in and put an end to what has been a popular local pastime for young couples,” local media reported.
Bizarrely however, according to the sign, the ban only applies to couples born in the 90s.
AL Qaeda planned to hijack cruise ships and post footage of passengers being executed online to pressurize governments to release particular prisoners, it has been revealed.
Documents embedded inside a pornographic movie, on a memory disc, show how the terror network
wanted to dress tourists up in Guantanamo Bay-style orange jumpsuits before murdering them.
The audacious plan is just one of several plots discovered by investigators who decrypted the hardware found in the underpants of a suspected terrorist arrested in Berlin last year.
The cache of 141 documents, described as ‘pure gold’ by intelligence agencies, also details how the network wanted to conduct a Mumbai-style attack – where ten gunmen killed 164 people in a three-day rampage in 2008 – in Europe.
And it reveals the organization is using a ‘twin-track strategy’ – using ‘low-cost, low-tech attacks’ to keep security services preoccupied as other ‘operatives’ plan large-scale 9/11 type atrocities.
The documents, seized by German intelligence operatives in the days following Osama Bin Laden’s death last year, reveal an ‘extraordinarily detailed insight into the inner workings of Al Qaeda’.
How to steal a 10-ton bridge? Easy: Just pretend you’ve been hired to demolish it. That’s what a gang of metal thieves allegedly did in the Czech Republic recently, showing employees at a depot forged paperwork and telling them the bridge over unused railroad tracks needed to come down. “The thieves said they had been hired to demolish the bridge, and remove the unwanted railway track to make way for a new cycle route,” says a railroad spokesperson.
The thieves then dismantled the bridge and 650 feet of track, which the spokesperson estimates to be worth millions, the Telegraph reports. “It was only after they had gone that checks were made and we realized we’d been had,” he says
Despite on-going legal battles a judge has upheld the new law to stop tourists from entering the cafes and smoking weed.Under the new law, Dutch residents will still be allowed into the coffee shops which have made Amsterdam and the Netherlands famous as long as they have valid identification or a new ‘weed pass’.
The move comes in an attempt to spare locals from drug related anti-social behavior amongst traveling tourists but so far its been met with an extremely negative response. Also, many people are worried that backpackers and travelers will still buy weed, but instead of buying it and smoking it in coffee shops, they’ll just turn to the black market and to drug dealers. Even the mayor of Amsterdam is against the proposal, saying that the city doesn’t suffer any problems from people smoking weed.