Researchers have been busy testing electronic implants aimed at restoring vision to folks with retinal dystrophy, a condition that causes degeneration of the photoreceptors, leading to blindness. They have come up with a microchip carrying 1500 photosensitive diodes that slide into the retina where the photoreceptors would normally be. The diodes respond to light and when connected to an outside power source through a wire into the eye, can stimulate the nearby nerves that normally pass signals to the brain, mimicking healthy photoreceptors. The volunteers to the project could also locate bright objects, and one of them could even recognize normal objects and read large words. It’s a pilot study and they’re designing a new system that can be implanted permanently when approved. It’s a nice technical development, but having to hook a wire into an eye for a power source is a scary idea.
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