Bionic Eyes Coming Up In Australia

Bionic eyes? Not your real ones, and not using the ones you were born with.

In future you may not even need eyes to see. Next year, a blind person in Australia will be the first to receive “bionic eyes” that bypass most of the visual system entirely. Instead, a camera mounted on a pair of glasses will feed information about the world directly to the brain.

The breakthrough should help restore vision in people without a working retina. “You don’t need an eyeball at all,” says Arthur Lowery at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, who is developing the bionic eye.

The plan is to implant up to 11 small tiles, each loaded with 43 electrodes, into areas of the brain that deal with vision. When these areas are stimulated, people report seeing flashes of light. Lowery believes that each electrode could create a dot of light that is similar to seeing one pixel. In total, the tiles will provide around 500 pixels – enough to create a simple image. Although this resolution is far cruder than the 1 to 2 million pixel image a normal eye can produce, it should restore the basic elements of sight.

Although bionic eyes are not to be found in the novel Cyborg, they were provided to Steve Austin in the television show made from the novel - The Six Million Dollar Man.


(Diagram of bionic eye from The Six Million Dollar Man video)

Take a look at the intro to the original TV show, including a brief view of the bionic eye diagram from The Six Million Dollar Man video.

SF fans may also be reminded of the artificial eyes from Frank Herbert's Dune series - read about the Tleilaxu Eyes.

Via NewScientist.

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