Newswise — The latest episode of “On Tech and Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts” centers on the place where big ideas are born – the human brain. The host, Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild, explores theories of brain plasticity, sensory substitution, and sensory augmentation with his guests Dr. Patricia Grant, Director of Clinical Research at Wicab Inc., and Dr. John-Ross Rizzo, Director of Innovation and Technology and Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Department of Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center. 

Dr. Grant discusses BrainPort, which uses sensory substitution, in this case nerve fibers in the tongue, to send information to the brain instead of the optic nerve. Dr. Rizzo discusses his work developing a device to be called the Sensory Halo, which is supported by sensory augmentation. Both guests share what is being learned about sensory substitution and augmentation through these technologies and how this understanding will help perfect future devices to enable people with vision impairment to see better.

“Training the Brain:  Sensory Substitution” is the seventh in the Lighthouse Guild podcast series exploring big ideas on how technology is helping people with vision loss. “On Tech & Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts,” is available online at and for downloading on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts iHeartRadio Podcasts and Twitter: @LighthouseGld #OnTechVision. The podcast has hit almost 1700 downloads since it launched in 2020. Topics of other episodes include:

  • Seeing with Your Ears­­­­­: Translating the Visual World to Audio -- How using audio can connect people with vision loss to the world around them. 
  • Integrating Touch and Sound -- How using touch and sound together can create spatial awareness through the use of smart canes.
  • A Remapped Reality: Using Virtual Reality to Remap the Visual Field -- How technology is used to remap sight for people with vision loss. 
  • The Development of Artificial Vision -- Cutting edge advancements in ocular bionic prosthetics.
  • Extending Human Vision -- How technology used in space can help people with vision loss on earth.
  • Improving Visual Impairment with Technology --The development of software-driven smart glasses for people with vision impairment.

About Lighthouse Guild Lighthouse Guild is dedicated to providing exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals. We provide coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation and behavioral health as well as related services. For more information, visit

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