Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have built a bionic eye that promises to bring back vision with the help of a brain implant. The team claims this is the world’s first bionic eye. The bionic eye dubbed ‘Gennaris bionic vision system’ has been under development for nearly a decade now.
It works by bypassing damaged optic nerves to allow signals to be transmitted from the retina to the vision center of the brain.
The system is simple. The user would have to wear a custom-designed headgear that has the camera and a wireless transmitter installed. A set of 9 millimeter tiles are implanted in the brain that receives the signals from the aforementioned receiver.
Arthur Lowery, professor at Monash University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, said in a statement, “Our design creates a visual pattern from combinations of up to 172 spots of light (phosphines) which provides information for the individual to navigate indoor and outdoor environments, and recognize the presence of people and objects around them,” as reported by REUTERS.
Researchers are looking to advance their system to help people with untreatable neurological conditions like limb paralysis, quadriplegia, to help make their lives better,
“If successful, the MVG [Monash Vision Group] team will look to create a new commercial enterprise focused on providing vision to people with untreatable blindness and movement to the arms of people paralyzed by quadriplegia, transforming their health care,” say researchers.
Researchers have seen successful results in sheep with minimal side effects where it was safely implanted into their brains using a pneumatic inserter with a total of 2 hours of simulation. They are now preparing to take it to the next level for its first-ever human clinical trial that is expected to be conducted in Melbourne.