2014 may well end up being be the year of the bionic eye. At least that’s the goal of engineers from the Monash Vision Group (MVG) of Monash University in Australia. They’ve recently had extremely positive early laboratory results for a new microchip that will power a bionic eye, and are on track for having one ready for patient testing in a couple years.
Unlike many other bionic eye/retinal implant projects currently in development, MVG’s bionic eye bypasses the actual eye altogether. The system consists of a special pair of glasses with a tiny camera that acts as the retina, a pocket-worn processor for converting the video into electrical signals, and the microchips themselves that are implanted directly on the surface of the patient’s visual cortex. The microchip complex consists of a grid of up to 14 eight-by-eight microchips, themselves consisting of over half a million transistors and 45 thin electrodes for receiving low-resolution black-and-white video and stimulating the visual cortex.
The goal is to produce artificial vision that is at least equivalent to using a seeing eye dog or a white cane. The bionic eye will likely be used in conjunction with these traditional aids, but as the technology evolves, it could eventually replace them.
Article from Monash University: Microchip success for bionic eye