Friday, July 20, 2012

Implant Gives Grayscale Vision To the Blind Using Lasers

Implant Gives Grayscale Vision To the Blind Using Lasers:
MrSeb writes with a bit from Extreme Tech: "After a lot of theorizing, posturing, and non-human trials, it looks like bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market — first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S. These implants can restore sight to completely blind patients — though only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, as in macular degeneration (which millions of old people suffer from), diabetic retinopathy, or other degenerative eye diseases. ... The Bio-Retina, developed by Nano Retina, is a whole lot more exciting. The Bio-Retina costs ... around the $60,000 [and] the 576-pixel vision-restoring sensor is actually placed inside the eye, on top of the retina. The operation only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. Once installed, 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into your optic nerve. The best bit, though, is how the the sensor is powered: The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough."

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