'Bionic Eye' Argus II Retinal Implant

Bionic eyes have been successfully implanted in two blind patients at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

A video camera and transmitter are worn on a regular pair of glasses. An implanted artificial retina receives the electrical impulses from the Argus II camera and sends the moving images along the optic nerve to the brain.

Although detailed images are not yet possible, the device can enable the patient to discriminate between rudimentary patters of motion, light and dark.


("Bionic eye" patient)

Mark Humayun, Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering at the Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles, California, which developed the technology, said:

“The camera is very, very small, and very low power, so it can go inside your eye and couple your eye movement to where the camera is. With the kind of missing information the brain can fill in, this field is really blossoming. In the next four to five years I hope, and we all hope, that we see technology that’s much more advanced.”

What is it like to look through a "bionic eye?" One of seeral American patients to be implanted with this technology remarked:

When I go to the grandkids’ hockey game or soccer game I can see which direction the game is moving in. I can shoot baskets with my grandson, and I can see my granddaughter dancing across the stage. It’s wonderful.”

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 Times Online. Thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/22/2008)

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