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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.