Feeds

‘Pre-bionic’ eye implanted in blind patient

‘I could see a little flash’ says recipient

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Australian researchers have claimed a world’s first by successfully implanting a ‘pre-bionic eye’ in a blind patient.

Ms Dianne Ashworth is the patient in question, and suffers retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has left her with profound vision loss.

The eye Ashworth received is a prototype with only 24 electrodes in its retinal implant. A small wire links the implant to what Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), the organisation that developed the eye, calls “a connector behind the ear” BVA says “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.”

Ashworth has said, in a canned statement, that when researchers stimulated her implant 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.”

The device has not given Ashworth sight but her experiences will allow the BVA team, a consortium of researchers from several Australian institutions, the chance to learn how to work their prostheses to achieve useful results.

“We are working with Ms Ashworth to determine exactly what she sees each time the retina is stimulated using a purpose built laboratory at the Bionics Institute.” Said Professor Rob Shepherd, the Institute’s Director. “The team is looking for consistency of shapes, brightness, size and location of flashes to determine how the brain interprets this information.

Bionic Eye

BVA is already working on future models of its implant, with a 98-electrode model its next effort. A 1024-electrode model also on the drawing board.

Future models and tests will involve a camera being placed over recipients’ eyes, with the camera’s inputs fed into the retinal implant.

Funded by Australia’s government to the tune of AUD$42m, BVA aims to develop a bionic eye by 2020. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.