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Ophthalmologists and Physicists Team Up to Design 'Bionic Eye' (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 04:55 PM
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Researchers design a device that may bring artificial vision to those that are blind due to retinal degeneration. While human trials are three years away, the team is working with rats to produce a device that could provide 20/80 vision in people with little or no vision.
There are two designs being tested, because they haven't decided which design works the best. Both designs use an implantable chip about 3mm in size, and the chips work by stimulating nerve cells in the eye with tiny electrodes. Processing and amplification will be done with a billfold sized wearable computer.

 



www.eurekalert.org
Degenerative retinal diseases result in death of photoreceptors--rod-shaped cells at the retina's periphery responsible for night vision and cone-shaped cells at its center responsible for color vision. Worldwide, 1.5 million people suffer from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the leading cause of inherited blindness. In the Western world, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of vision loss in people over age 65, and the issue is becoming more critical as the population ages. Each year, 700,000 people are diagnosed with AMD, with 10 percent becoming legally blind, defined by 20/400 vision. Many AMD patients retain some degree of peripheral vision.

"Currently, there is no effective treatment for most patients with AMD and RP," the researchers say in their paper. "However, if one could bypass the photoreceptors and directly stimulate the inner retina with visual signals, one might be able to restore some degree of sight."



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


With only a few issues to iron out, the team seems to be well on their way to creating sight in people with serious vision problems, allowing them to possibly live independent lives. If you compare these devices to recent advances in digital cameras, technology will only get better over the next three years. The next thing you know, we will be downloading our memories to our 500 TB hard drives, and sharing them with others.

While it is not a replacement for the human eye, it will help thousands of people live better lives, and it takes us one step closer to bionic humans.


Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
SCI/TECH: Artificial muscles set to compete against Humans

[edit on 4/4/05 by NoPhobos]

[edit on 4/4/05 by NoPhobos]




posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 10:41 PM
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Another article from MyDNA

This is some of the same information with a little more “down to Earth” explanation.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 10:46 PM
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This is cool, but I'm with Terapin......biological advances are preferable to implants.......implants are subject to outside influences...and we're paranoid enough as it is.......



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 08:44 AM
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The Six Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) had a bionic eye. How cool it is becoming a reality, some 30+ years later......

I' thrilled with all the advances in getting some people's sight back or greatly improved. It's good to see that some work is being done to improve the qulity of people's lives when in other instances it seems nothing is being done to help with other medical problems except make more money for hospitals and pharmaceutical companies!!



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 10:52 PM
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I think they should work in both directions as I am sure that there are some conditions that can't be fixed by one but maybe the other will work. My Aunt and MIL have both become legally blind because of Macular Degeneration (one age related and one not) and they wouldn't care what worked for them if it helped them to see something.



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