Policeman blinded by Raoul Moat to test eyesight device
PC David Rathband, the policeman who was blinded by gunman Raoul Moat, is to take part in the trials of a revolutionary new piece of equipment which could help those who have lost their sight to see again.
It was in July 2010 that Rathband became the victim of Moat’s shooting spree, suffering gunshot wounds to his face and shoulder – injuries which meant he lost both of his eyes.
He is now vying to test a new device known as BrainPort.
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The pioneering BrainPort technology was developed in the US and reportedly works by converting images which are recorded on a video camera into electrode pulses on the tongue.
The electrode pulses will differ depending on the levels of light and darkness contained in the object or area being looked at.
It is then hoped the user will be able to associate the pulsing sensation of the electrodes with the shape and outline of images.
Developers of the BrainPort device have already offered David the opportunity to partake in its patient-based trails, but his participation requires a fee of £16,000 which his family are in the process of collecting.
A website collecting the donations has been set up by his 19-year-old son and so far just over £1,800 has been collected online.
While speaking to British newspaper the Daily Mail, Rathband said: “I'd love to be able to see some shadows or a bit of light.
“Anything is better than nothing,” he added.
“It keeps me going as a bit of hope, but I'm careful not to put all my eggs in that basket.
He continued: “I've gone from a man who did things when I wanted to, to a man who has to depend on others to do things with me and for me.”
To enable David Rathband to take part in the BrainPort trail,donations are being accepted online at http://www.davidrathband.co.uk/brainport.html.
BrainPort device in action:
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