California’s own Stanford University is now working on light powered prosthetic eyes that will give sight to the blind.
This new technology will provide vision “altered from one with normal sight”, with no color what-so-ever. The study is currently being done on blind live rats. Stanford University is currently looking for test patients for human trials of these implants.
Quote from Stanford University’s Medical Center Release Statement:
“This device — a new type of retinal prosthesis — involves a specially designed pair of goggles, which are equipped with a miniature camera and a pocket PC that is designed to process the visual data stream. The resulting images would be displayed on a liquid crystal microdisplay embedded in the goggles, similar to what’s used in video goggles for gaming. Unlike the regular video goggles, though, the images would be beamed from the LCD using laser pulses of near-infrared light to a photovoltaic silicon chip — one-third as thin as a strand of hair — implanted beneath the retina.
Electric currents from the photodiodes on the chip would then trigger signals in the retina, which then flow to the brain, enabling a patient to regain vision.
A study, published online May 13 in Nature Photonics, shows how scientists used rat retinas to assess the photodiode arrays in vitro, and how the diodes produced electric responses that are widely accepted indicators of visual activity. The scientists are now testing the system in live rats, taking both physiological and behavioral measurements, and are hoping to find a sponsor to support tests in humans.”
Writer’s Opinion: “While many people are not able to see in the United States alone, many whom are able to afford such optical enhancements will be very cautious. Many will like to be able to see using these implants, others will not like the idea. It is all a matter of opinion. My personal hope is that this technology advances and will soon provide color vision to the blind, and that one day most insurances will cover these plans. I wish the study well, and I would like to give special thanks to the dedicated Stanford University Students & Staff conducting this research and the trials. Thank you for your efforts.”
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