Bionic Eyes To Be Tested in 2013Well this is pretty cool. Researchers from Australia’s BionicVision are planning on testing artificial eyes next year. While not able to replicate the functionality of an actual eye yet, their technology will let those who are blind be able to make out shapes and even shadows.
The technology relies on two separate parts: the chip and the camera. The chip is one of the most complicated pieces of bioelectronics ever made, designed to be able to live at the back of the eye with little trouble surviving in that harsh environment. There, 98 different electrodes interface with the retina to send images to the brain. By running the right style of currenct to each connection, the team can create artificial sight (see this TED talk to understand what I mean).
The second half of the device is the camera. The camera, in this case, isn’t connected to the chip at all. The connection is completely wireless, letting cameras be switched out at a moment’s notice and requiring far less circuitry at the back of the eye.
Other research has managed to allow people to see more pixels in the past. Last year a German team managed to allow 3 patients to perceive 1,500 pixels. But the technology wasn’t built to last, and the perception of shades was limited.
Despite having fewer pixels to show, BionicVision’s technology allows them to show individual shades with a great deal of accuracy. And the reason is because the technology ties into the nerves in a slightly different way. Another fairly major difference is that the technology is designed to give you a wide field of view, compared to the constrained views most other technologies have.
Take a look at the video below, then hit up their site at BionicEye.org.au.