bionic eyeRemember the Six Million Dollar Man? Well, I am quite sure if inflation was to be taken into account, Steve Austin would be worth far more than that today with his cybernetic enhancements, but this is another can of worms altogether. What we are interested in today is a new ‘bionic eye’ microchip which has been implanted in the eyes of two blind British men, and the interesting thing is, these implants actually ended up with them receiving some form of vision for the first time in decades. The microchip itself measures 3mm in size, and were implanted behind the eyes of these men, being connected with electrodes. It takes weeks for the effect to kick in though, as they have both regained ‘useful vision’ after some time, being able to recognize faces and potentially see once again.

According to James (one of the two blind men), “Since switching on the device I am able to detect light and distinguish the outlines of certain objects which is an encouraging sign. I have even dreamt in very vivid colour for the first time in 25 years so a part of my brain which had gone to sleep has woken up! I feel this is incredibly promising for future research and I’m happy to be contributing to this legacy.”

Bear in mind that this is not the ultimate fix, since there is no possibility at this moment with such technology to help them regain color vision, although the implanted chip boasts of 1,500 pixels that will pick up light and transmit it to the brain, delivering a ”field of vision which is limited to a window the size of a CD case that is held at arm’s length. Still, that is better than nothing, right? There are also other projects out there, including one from MIT.

Filed in Medical. Read more about bionic, blind and implant.

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