Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) is touting its role in the development of the 60 electrode artificial retinal prosthesis, now being trialed by Second Sight of Sylmar, CA. The device is manufactured in batches of 12 on specialty developed wafers. LLNL produced a fascinating video showing their lab that is working on the prosthesis.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore are today using advanced polymer-based micro-fabrication methods to further develop a biocompatible microelectrode array for the third-generation artificial retina device.
The LLNL team contributes three major components to the artificial retina: the thin-film electrode array that contains the neural electrodes; the biocompatible electronics package that contains the electronics for stimulating the retina and wireless power and communications; and an ocular surgical tool that will enable the insertion, attachment, and re-insertion of the thin-film electrode array.
The second-generation device represents a substantial performance improvement over the first-generation device in speed of recognition and resolution. Objects can now be recognized within 2-3 seconds instead of the previous 15, and the device’s 60 electrodes have improved image resolution over the 16-electrode prosthesis.
The prosthesis is now of sufficient resolution to allow recognition of doors, windows, edges, low-lying branches and a basketball backboard. The goal of the DOE project is to produce a prosthesis with more than 1,000 electrodes, which would allow facial recognition.
Expertise in biomedical microsystems at Lawrence Livermore’s Center for Nano- and Microtechnology was tapped to develop a “flexible microelectrode array,” able to conform to the curved shape of the retina, without damaging the delicate retinal tissue, and to integrate electronics developed by University of California at Santa Cruz. The device serves as the interface between an electronic imaging system and the human eye, directly stimulating neurons via thin film conducting traces and electroplated electrodes.
Link: Lab plays key role in Department of Energy’s artificial retina project…
Flashbacks: Second Sight Medical Retinal Prosthesis Receives FDA Approval for Clinical Trials; Second Sight Medical Retinal Prosthesis to Receive a Wider Trial
LLNL video of wafer manufacturing after the fold (direct link to Quicktime video file):