In 1688, William Molyneux posed the following question to John Locke:
"Suppose a Man born blind … and taught by his touch to distinguish between a Cube, and a Sphere of the same [size and material]. Suppose then the Cube and Sphere placed on a Table, and the Blind Man to be made to see. [… C]ould [he] now distinguish, and tell, which is the Globe, which the Cube."
Molyneux’s question went on to spawn considerable philosophical discussion about the theory and origin of concepts and how novel experience is related and integrated into our cognitive worldview. But - an actual empirical investigation into the basic question has been difficult to perform as recovery from congenital blindness is almost impossibly rare. In 2003, our colleague, Pawan Sinha, performed one of the first empirical tests of Molyneux’s question as part of Project Prakash - a program with research, humanitarian, and educational missions aimed at vision restoration. Here, we will discuss our research into the interaction of vision and touch as well as highlights of Project Prakash.