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In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi is blind. But yet he has a visor that enables him to see.

How does Geordi's visor work?

  • 18
    Very well, thank you. – Valorum Jul 24 '15 at 7:06
  • @Richard: Haha I came to write exactly that – Lightness Races with Monica Jul 24 '15 at 10:36
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    @lightnessracesinorbit - Simple minds think alike. – Valorum Jul 24 '15 at 11:53
  • @Richard do I still get to call "ninja'd" if it's been ~5 hours? – Petersaber Jul 24 '15 at 12:11
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This is explained on Memory Alpha:

The VISOR detected electromagnetic signals across the entire EM spectrum between 1 Hz and 100,000 THz and transmitted those signals to the brain through neural implants in the temples of the individual via delta-compressed wavelengths. (TNG: "The Masterpiece Society") The result was a vastly different visual acuity, with VISOR-wearers able to see in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges and beyond.

This was also confirmed in TNG: The Mind's Eye

When Romulans kidnapped La Forge in 2367, they were able to use his existing neural implants to tap directly into his visual cortex and secretly brainwash him.

So, it basically acts as an enhanced bionic eye which he wears over the top of his eyes. This then connects to neural implants on the side of his head (picture below - notice the little red 'dots' on the side of his head) which transmit this visual information to his visual cortex!

Geordi without his VISOR

The signals are transmitted via delta-compressed wavelengths:

The VISOR sensed signals across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and transmitted them to the sensory centers of user's brain via delta-compressed wavelengths ("transmitting the electromagnetic spectrum electronically to the brain"). (TNG episode: "The Naked Now", TNG episode: "The Enemy", TNG video game: The Transinium Challenge)

(Source)

As to what Geordi actually sees, here are a few pictures:

Ten Forward

Ten Forward seen through Geordi La Forge's VISOR. Includes examples of the written Romulan language. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")

(Source)

Data as seen by Geordi

Data as seen through Geordi La Forge's VISOR with the visual acuity transmitter. (TNG-R: "Heart of Glory")

(Source)

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    I assumed that it projected a Reading Rainbow into his brain. – Wad Cheber Jul 24 '15 at 6:29
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    Can you track down an image of what he actually sees from the one episode that had it? – Bobson Jul 24 '15 at 15:03
  • Wonderful answer, @N_Soong! – Praxis Jul 25 '15 at 7:17
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Geordi's view

Also note the bright cloud near the person to the right. Geordi's visor detects infrared, therefore...

  • Makes one wonder what he sees when he looks at a computer display (the information on which he seems to be reading like anyone else). – O. R. Mapper Jul 24 '15 at 21:12
  • Well, he can see the visible parts too. He doesn't just see the extremes with a gap in the normally-visible part of the spectrum :) – Cylindric Jul 24 '15 at 22:04
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    I find it interesting that the show decided to portray his visual experience as so...bad. I mean, that visor display is simply awful compared to normal vision. – Chelonian Jul 25 '15 at 3:37

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