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FIFTEEN years ago, the bid to create Australia's first bionic eye relied on university researchers pillaging old stereos for parts.
However today, 154 researchers led by biomedical engineers from the University of NSW could be less than a year away from their goal of saving the vision of degenerative eye disease sufferers.
The technology centres on an intricate and minuscule implant containing 98 electrodes, which is designed to stimulate nerve cells in the retina.
Images taken by an external camera implanted in glasses worn by the patient would be processed and relayed via an external wire to a receiver implanted behind the ear, from which signals will be sent to the retina processing chip. If all goes to plan the retina, having been stimulated with the signals, will send information to vision processing centres in the brain.
In fact, a full cyborg transformation has been given a green light by the FDA, and now researchers have successfully transplanted the world's first bionic eye.
Surgeons at the University of Michigan Health System have made the first officially FDA-approved "bionic eye" transplants, allowing patients with a degenerative eye disease to make out light and shapes. The Michigan Daily reports that on January 16th and 22nd, two surgeons successfully implanted the Argus II artificial retina, which is composed of a sheet of electrodes fixed to the eye. The implant is paired with a pair of camera-equipped glasses and a processor that captures video from the glasses. That video is then sent as a series of pulses to the electrodes, stimulating the patient's remaining nerve fibers. (Source)