An Artificial Eye for the Blind

Priya Ganapati writes in Wired that researchers at MIT are developing an eye implant that can feed visual imput past damaged cells and directly into the brain. Patients will wear a camera that downloads images into the implant:

It won’t entirely restore normal vision, say the researchers, but it will offer just enough sight to help a blind person navigate a room.[...]

Here’s how the implant works. The glasses that patients wear contains a coil that can wirelessly transmit power to receiving coils surrounding the eyeball. The eyeball holds a microchip encased in a sealed titanium case to avoid damage from water seepage. The chip receives visual information and activates electrodes that in turn fire the nerve cells that carry visual input to the brain.

Link via DVICE

Image: flickr user Orange Acid, used under Creative Commons license.

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Unlike what the Wired article says, this is a retinal implant and sends information through the back of the retina using existing nerve cells as a pathway to send information to the brain. It does not send information directly to the brain. Kinda said a Wired article could get that simple point wrong. For direct brain communication you'd need to look at intracortical stimulation.
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