Retinal Implant – Offering Artificial Vision to the Blind

HBI Blog / Retinal Implant – Offering Artificial Vision to the Blind

Restoring eyesight to the optimum level has always been one of the biggest challenges for scientists. However, recently, a team of EPFL engineers has developed a technology that could partially restore vision in blind people. The team of engineers has been working on the issue of providing a vision to blind people since 2015 and has developed a retinal implant that works with camera-equipped smart glasses and a microcomputer.

Artificial Vision

How the Technology Works

The camera embedded in the smart glasses captures images in the wearer’s field of vision and sends the data to the microcomputer placed in one of the end-pieces of the eyeglass. Then, the microcomputer converts the data into light signals, which are then transmitted to the electrodes located in the retinal implant. The electrodes stimulate the retina in such a way that the wearer can see a simplified, black-and-white version of the image.

The simplified version of the image is made up of numerous dots of light appearing only when the retinal cells are stimulated. However, the wearers must learn to interpret the dots of light to identify the shapes and objects before them. It’s just like stargazing, where we need to identify the stars to recognize specific constellations.

Waiting on Human Testing

The system is yet to be tested on humans. The team needs to be certain of the results before testing them on humans. Getting medical approval often takes a long time. As a result, they have developed a virtual reality program that can stimulate what a patient would see through the implants.

The team has performed all kinds of tests, which has demonstrated that the system does not need any further improvement. They are waiting for approval before they could start implanting their technology in actual patients. Hopefully, restoring vision will see a new light soon.

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