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Bionic Eye may Restore Sight to the Blind

Stevie Wonder- world-renowned singer and composer is just one of many blind people around the world //who would like to hear more about this invention.

Scientists working for the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California have improved upon a previous invention released in 2002; a prototype artificial retina. They plan to start clinical studies for the development of its successor, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System.

According to them, the improved version is smaller and much more efficient.

The ‘miracle’ implant is designed to restore a certain degree of sight to those suffering from loss of sight caused by ailments like age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

It does not offer a cure for blindness caused by damage of the optic nerve.

With the previous electronic implant, six blind patients had their sight partially restored. The device proved so successful that its developers led by Dr. Mark Humayun, applied for FDA approval to begin clinical trials of the technology in around 50 to 75 subjects, with blindness.

They hope to release the improved version in 2 years.

The bionic eye works by converting images from a tiny camera mounted on a pair of glasses into a grid of 16 electrical signals that transmit directly to the nerve endings in the retina.

The camera in the glasses sends a wireless signal to a pea-sized pocket device, which processes the images in real time into a four by four grid of electrical signals. This grid is then transmitted wirelessly to the eye implant, which converts these into signals sent directly to nerve endings in the retina.

The previous six patients were able to tell the difference between objects such as a cup, a plate and a knife. They could also tell which direction objects were moving in front of them.

In the current device, the receiver for the signal is implanted under the skin behin
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