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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Video Unit  
  Video units attached directly to the optic nerve, giving sight to the blind.  

You just can't tell where they're looking, that's all.

Somewhere down the hill from the Sunset Metro exit he passed a man watering his lawn, a rectangle perhaps twice the size of a pool table, illuminated by the medicinal glow of a nearby streetlight...

The waterer looked up, and Laney saw that he was blind, eyes hidden by the black lozenges of video units coupled directly to the optic nerve. You never knew what they were watching.

From Idoru, by William Gibson.
Published by Putnam in 1996
Additional resources -

Might some people choose to have it done voluntarily? Even when not blind. This was the only reference.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Idoru
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Idoru
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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