The possibility of restoring sight, even if it is only partially, to the clinically blind is a huge breakthrough and doing it using a bionic eye could very well usher a new era in Ophthalmology. Things seem to be running on course at the Monash Vision Group (MVG) of Monash University in Australia in their attempt to create and implant the first bionic eye. The lab Down Under has announced that early test results for the proposed micro chip that will be used in the bionic eye are “extremely positive” and at this rate the bionic eye could very well be a reality by 2014.
The news should come as great hope to those who are clinically blind and if not by 2014, the technology could well be improved, perfected upon and within the reach of millions across the globe the end of this decade. The specialty of the bionic implant by MGV is its ability to not rely on the human eye completely. The technology currently under development will deliver a direct-to-brain bionic implant which will consist of a small camera encased in a pair of glasses. This will act as the retina part of eye while a processor will convert the information of the camera into electric impulses that the brain can understand and interpret into what we understand as ‘vision’.
The microchip that is currently the key to the project and offering positive results will be directly implanted on the surface of patient’s visual cortex with each patient being implanted with a grid of up to 14 such strips. The makeup of each transistor will be sporting several hundred thousand transistors and many electrodes that will transmit the impulses. The early bionic eye though will be able to offer just low resolution black and white images and it will take a lot more development to even think of one that can come close to the functioning of the normal human eye. But this already is a huge step up in the right direction…