The VISOR, acronym for Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement, was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight or who were born blind. The VISOR detected electromagnetic signals across the entire EM spectrum, and transmitted those signals to the brain through neural implants in the temples of the individual via delta-compressed wavelengths. The result was a vastly different visual acuity, with VISOR-wearers able to see in the infra-red and ultra-violet ranges, and beyond. To normal Human eyes, the images relayed through the VISOR could seem disorienting and unfamiliar.
- According to the script of TNG: "Identity Crisis", La Forge wore "a slightly different, earlier version of his VISOR" in 2362 while still serving on the USS Victory. It is a little hard to see in the few scenes that show La Forge during that year but it seems that he is wearing another VISOR in the episode. His VISOR in 2363 was completely silver in contrast to the one he wears in the series which has a silver band and golden tines.
The VISOR proved useful in unique applications from time to time.
- La Forge used the VISOR to unsuccessfully examine the Edo God. (TNG: "Justice")
- Using a visual acuity transmitter to send a live video feed of La Forge's point of view aboard a damaged freighter. (TNG: "Heart of Glory")
- To see if someone was lying by tracking their perspiration. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder")
- To use as a tap in for telemetry from an experimental type of probe. (TNG: "Interface")
- To use as a tap in to directly input scenes into La Forge's visual cortex. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")
While trapped on the surface of Galorndon Core, La Forge and Centurion Bochra were able to couple La Forge's VISOR with a Federation tricorder to detect a transporter beacon emitting a neutrino pulse and ultimately escape (TNG: "The Enemy"). While being held hostage on Arkaria Base, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D reconfigured the VISOR to emit a hypersonic pulse to incapacitate their captors. (TNG: "Starship Mine")
The VISOR also allowed La Forge to see through certain types of playing cards; however he swore that he never used this advantage to cheat during the Enterprise-D's weekly poker games. (TNG: "Ethics")
The VISOR inadvertently caused several problems as well. When La Forge was kidnapped by Romulans in 2367, the Romulans were able to use his existing neural implants to tap directly into his visual cortex and secretly brainwash him. As the VISOR was capable of receiving E-band emissions, a collaborator was able to remotely control the brainwashed La Forge with an E-band transmitter. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")
When activated, the VISOR emitted a short-range subspace field pulse. While usually harmless, it was this emission that caused Worf to shift between universes in 2370 whenever he was in close proximity with the device. The pulse aggravated the quantum flux that Worf had been experiencing after coming into contact with a quantum fissure. (TNG: "Parallels")
In 2371, Doctor Tolian Soran modified La Forge's VISOR to transmit a live video feed of his range of view to the Duras sisters' ship. Lursa and B'Etor used the footage to discover the Enterprise's shield frequency. (Star Trek Generations) How much of his visual spectrum was broadcast is unknown, as only the "visible light" region of his vision was seen on the viewscreen.