Early Days of Artificial Eyes

In the years ahead, fully functional artificial eyes will be an option for the blind. Science Daily notes that the path to that end is just getting underway today - a little healthy competition for the methods of regenerative medicine: "The first phase of our implant work began in 2002. We have successfully implanted six patients in the trial, and we have found that the devices are indeed electrically conducting and can be used by patients to detect light or even to distinguish between objects such as a cup or plate. ... While the first generation of implants contained 16 electrodes laid out on an array, the Argus II is designed with 60 electrodes, which is intended to allow for higher-resolution images. The new device is also approximately one quarter the size of the original, reducing surgery and recovery times. The array is attached to the retina and used in conjunction with an external camera and video processing system to provide a rudimentary form of sight to implanted subjects." The capabilities of exactly these sorts of technologies have improved by something like a factor of 1000 in the past 15 years - the field of endeavor concerned with integrating devices into the human body will catch up with that trend.

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070216221522.htm

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