September 1, 2012
Bionics Breakthrough As Eye Implant Prototype Tested
|Image Source : Bionics Institute|
|In a major development, Bionic Vision Australia researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with electrodes that the patient can see basic shapes. Subsequent research points to a very achievable roadmap to future improvements that will allow much better bionic vision.|
Researchers from the government-funded consortium made the announcement in a press release earlier this week; in it the prototype recepient said she "didn't know what to expect, but all of a sudden, I could see a little flash--it was amazing." The team is hoping they can start to "build" shapes based on what she sees, eventually creating a bionic eye that works like its organic counterpart.
Professor Rob Shepherd, Director of the Bionics Institute, led the team in designing, building and testing this early prototype to ensure its safety and efficacy for human implantation
The prototype device is set up in a laboratory. Electrodes in the implant stimulate nerve cells, and in the controlled environment scientists can get feedback from the user on the "flashes of light." That could help them adjust until the "flashes of light" reflect the actual environment enough to be helpful. It's not full vision, but it's an early step toward it.
The next stage, the scientists say, is incorporating an external camera into a device, and creating versions with more electrodes. The present prototype only has 24, but the scientists say with 98, a person could be able to see large objects; with 1,024, they could recognize faces and large print.
SOURCE Bionics Institute
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Tags: bionic eyes, bionic vision, Bionic Vision Australia, Bionics Institute, body augmentation, breakthrough
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