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World's 1st bionic eye may bring vision to the blind


08:30, June 09, 2013

MELBOURNE, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A group of Australian scientists and industrial designers published their latest development of world's first bionic eye, a device that may help thousands of people in darkness to see shapes and light again, local media reported on Saturday.

Recipient is hoped to be able to see the basic outlines made of light through a pair of sunglasses shaped like Google Glass. It takes images and information from the digital camera attached to it and processed them into signals, which will be sent wirelessly to a microchip implanted in the recipient's brain.

The basic idea of bionic eye is bypassing the damaged eye by transmitting the vision signal directly to the brain via wireless link.

Mark Armstrong, the leader of the Monash University Bionic Eye Industrial Design Team, told local media that with the clinical trail starting the coming year, the bionic eye is anticipated to give some vision to those who lost their sight completely.

"Signal is transmitted wirelessly from what's called a coil, which is mounted at the back of the head and inside the brain there is an implant which consists of a series of little ceramic tiles and in each tile are microscopic electrodes which actually are embedded in the visual cortex of the brain," Armstrong said.

"This is the first in-human cortical implant with a wireless link," said Professor Arthur Lowry, the project head from the Monash Vision Group.

"A small amount of information to someone who has no vision at all is enormously useful," he said.

With this new technology, people with blindness don't need to have a permanent hole to put the wires for processor connection in the head any more, he added.

According to the designers and researchers, the bionic eye is estimated to potentially help more than 85 percent of blind people.

The challenge of the industrial designers is to make sure that the sunglasses is lightweight, adjustable to different size of heads and make people wearing the device feel good about themselves.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YaoChun、Liang Jun)

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