Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Germans fitted with bionic eyes.

From Sky News:
A ground-breaking eye implant has allowed three blind patients to see.

Within days of being fitted with the electronic device in their retina, the German patients were able to see objects on a table, including a cup and saucer.

One was even able to read his own name.

A British eye surgeon, who will lead the first UK trials of the device next year, said it was a significant advance.

Professor Robert MacLaren, from the Oxford Eye Hospital, said: "Until now this concept would have been considered only in the realms of science fiction. What surprised all of us was just how much resolution you can get from the implant."

The device consists of an electronic plate just three millimetres square, which is coated with 1,500 light-sensitive sensors.

Each sensor triggers an electronic pulse that stimulates nerves that lead to the brain. Patients see a rough black and white image.

The device has been developed by the German technology company Retina Implant AG.

It was fitted to three patients with the inherited condition retinitis pigmentosa, which gradually destroys the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing blindness.

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