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First Successful Bionic Eye Implanted September 2, 2012

Posted by Metabiological in Transhumanism.
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As I’ve said previously on this blog modern prosthetics are no where near ready to allow us the possibility of cyborg humans.  At best they restore a limited set of the functions that a biological limb possess while lacking important features like the ability of flesh to self repair.  But like all technology they are improving and a little while ago we marked a big milestone in the progress of prosthetics: the implantation of the first bionic eye.

After years of hard work and planning, Ms Ashworth’s implant was switched on last month at the Bionics Institute, while researchers held their breaths in the next room, observing via video link.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but all of a sudden, I could see a little flash…it was amazing. Every time there was stimulation there was a different shape that appeared in front of my eye,” Ms Ashworth said.

This early prototype consists of a retinal implant with 24 electrodes. A small lead wire extends from the back of the eye to a connector behind the ear. An external system is connected to this unit in the laboratory, allowing researchers to stimulate the implant in a controlled manner in order to study the flashes of light. Feedback from Ms Ashworth will allow researchers to develop a vision processor so that images can be built using flashes of light. This early prototype does not incorporate an external camera — yet. This is planned for the next stage of development and testing.

Obviously we are long way from allowing  a previously blind person to see let alone enhancing normal human vision but it’s an encouraging step none-the-less.



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