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Bionic eyes could eventually 'cure' blindness

Posted on Monday, 21 December, 2015 | Comment icon 13 comments

Brain implants and special glasses could make it possible for the blind to see. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists have been developing bionic eyes that work independently of a person's own ocular system.
Our eyes contribute so much to our daily lives that those of us who lose the ability to see often struggle to carry out many of the day-to-day tasks that everyone else tends to take for granted.

Curing blindness outright isn't possible even with today's advances in science and medicine, but there is still hope thanks to researchers such as those at Monash University in Australia who have been working on building special bionic eyes capable of communicating directly with the brain.

The system works by implanting 11 small tiles in to the parts of the brain responsible for receiving and processing signals relating to visual stimuli. Each tile contains 43 elctrodes which stimulate the brain with electrical signals and build up a picture consisting of around 500 pixels.
This might not sound like much compared to the 1 to 2 million pixels that healthy eyes can see, but to someone who is totally blind this valuable image is far better than nothing at all.

To make the whole thing work the patient must also wear special glasses with a digital camera, movement sensor and transmitter which sends visual information to the implants in the brain.

While right now the main goal of this technology is to enable blind people to see, in the future such a system might also be used to give a healthy-sighted person augmented vision such as the ability to zoom in over long distances or to even see in the dark.

Source: The Next Web | Comments (13)

Tags: Bionic, Eyes, Blind

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Chibadiba on 21 December, 2015, 17:45
I highly doubt that 500 pixels would give any kind of tactical weaponry/military advancements...
Comment icon #5 Posted by Summerin1905 on 21 December, 2015, 18:58
this is pretty cool. technology has come a long way.
Comment icon #6 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 21 December, 2015, 19:08
I don't see much improvement in medical technology. Everytime I see the doctor I still get the same medicine..
Comment icon #7 Posted by Nnicolette on 21 December, 2015, 20:17
But didn't you read the article? Thats exactly what its slated for. You should know people better than to believe otherwise.
Comment icon #8 Posted by seaturtlehorsesnake on 21 December, 2015, 22:57
the article says it might possibly have vision augmenting abilities. in the future. right now, it is in fact for treating blindness. right here: While right now the main goal of this technology is to enable blind people to see, in the future such a system might also be used to give a healthy-sighted person augmented vision such as the ability to zoom in over long distances or to even see in the dark. do you really think we should avoid life altering technology because it might, some day, have other applications?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Infernal Gnu on 22 December, 2015, 1:11
I definitely need a new pair of bionic eyes, I started seeing sporadic flashes of light in my right eye especially when I turn my head to the right or look to the right. That plus I got some heavy extra floaters. Eye doctor could find no reason for it other than my aging vitreous humor pulling on my retina. Looks like it's my new normal, but it still beats having severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Comment icon #10 Posted by Peter B on 22 December, 2015, 11:17
this is pretty cool. technology has come a long way. Yep. Sure has. The first cochlear implants back in the 1980s required batteries the size and weight of a full hip flask. My oldest son, who's eight years old, has cochlear implants because he was born profoundly deaf. He had his implants installed by his first birthday. These days, seven years later, each implant requires a battery about the size of the fingernail on your middle finger. The batteries need to be recharged overnight, but they can be recharged hundreds of times. The microphone which picks up sound, and the processor which conve... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard on 22 December, 2015, 15:26
Cool. Maybe I'll get a new ear to fix me up too.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BeastieRunner on 22 December, 2015, 16:46
Can I get these just because I'm tired of contacts and glasses?
Comment icon #13 Posted by highdesert50 on 23 December, 2015, 1:34
Our perspective is that of a sighted person, but a person who has never had vision has an opportunity to explore our spectrum and perhaps even beyond it to create a very personal image of reality ... consider the opportunities provided by Geordi LaForge's wide spectrum visor on Startrek.

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