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Photovoltaic Eye Implant Could Give Sight To the Blind

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the ok-look-directly-at-the-sun dept.

Biotech 15

MikeChino writes with this snippet from Inhabitat: "Researchers at Stanford University recently announced that they have developed a new artificial retina implant that uses photovoltaic power and could help the blind see. The problem with previous implants was that there was no way send power to the chip in order to process light and data inside the eye, so the new device uses miniature photovoltaic cells to provide power the chip as well as to transmit data through the eye to the brain. The new device has great promise to help people afflicted by the loss of photoreceptor cells by using the power of the sun."

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And to charge it, you... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30586682)

This sounds really awesome. If my natural vision degenerates, I want the model with IR and UV sensitivity.

But I can see an endless loop condition developing:

10: "Don't look into the sun, you'll go blind!"
20: "AAAA I looked into the sun and I'm blind!"
30: "We've given you solar-powered retinal implants."
40: "Oops, my eye batteries are low, I'd better go..."
50: goto 20

Re:And to charge it, you... (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30588174)

Inability to stare at the sun is a bug, not a feature. Since this eye will actually be DESIGNED, they should be able to leave it out.

Re:And to charge it, you... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30588458)

Inability to stare at the sun is a bug, not a feature. Since this eye will actually be DESIGNED, they should be able to leave it out

Agreed, but unless they replace the whole thing, it's just an upgrade. The magnifying-glass effect is an artifact of the original case design... even if the new retina can handle it, the legacy I/O port (aka optic nerve) might blow out.

Now, add some automatic cornea-side filtering and a new interface to the visual cortex, and you've got something. I could look forward to laying outside on a blanket, looking up and counting the sunspots.

Re:And to charge it, you... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30588624)

Don't forget a bluetooth chip in there somewhere for direct optical bypass, firmware updates, high speed porn input, etc.. Of course, then local ads could REALLY get intrusive...

Re:And to charge it, you... (2, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30588948)

s/etc\./me cracking the protocol, and making you see Goatse all day long/ # ^^

Re:And to charge it, you... (2, Funny)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30590130)

My brain! The eyelids do nothing!

Re:And to charge it, you... (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30590678)

The good news is that we can restore your sight. The bad news is that do to security concerns we will need to place a mini-USB socket 2mm to the left of your iris... no no, you'll *hardly notice it, really!

Users may become significantly aware of mini-USB port in cases of leakage, corrosion, or static discharge. Please avoid areas near strong magnetic fields. Never fall asleep at Defcon or similar events. Notify your doctor immediately if a Windows Logo appears and persists in your field of vision.

so they will still be blind at night (1)

gemada (974357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30588410)

unless maybe they put a storage battery in their nose?

Cool (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30589404)

  But does it use Glitter [slashdot.org] ?

  Gives the old, often used adage of "glittering eyes" an entirely new dimension. Plus, think of what a hit it'd be at parties :)

SB

Cool, a hair-band around the eyes! (1)

Eclipse-now (987359) | more than 4 years ago | (#30590318)

According to the article "the system utilizes is an external video camera that captures images". Now if they can use some of the new super-small video camera lenses and fit them into a round comfortable forward facing front-band that sits over the eyes like a pair of glasses or goggles, we might have a user-friendly device. Now if only we could make this 'band' as fashionable as Geordi's, we might really be getting somewhere!

The only real drawback might be some engineers staring into the sun and going blind on purpose for all that La-Forge microscopic infrared and other wavelength advantage.

I mean, Chief Tyrol just used a infra-red beam and it showed up Galactica's problems real well, but this is the real world right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geordi_La_Forge [wikipedia.org]

how do you see in the dark? (1)

majid_aldo (812530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30591282)

but now how do you see in the dark?

Camera Quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30591492)

Hopefully this mini-cam will have a little better light pickup than most of the cameras out there. I can see this being a big problem with someone fumbling about the house that doesn't have alot of bright lighting. Just take a look at a few indoor youtube videos to see what I mean.

Chip? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30592030)

Eh? A Chip? Why does it need a chip? The eye certainly doesn't have any processors of any sort in there.
It has a detector and some wiring in to the brain.
And i don't even have IR and UV sight with said chip?? Come on guys.

Why can't it just be wired up to use the power already in our body?
There was that e-ink tattoo that can be powered from human blood.
If the eyelid is shut, lower the amount of power being used.

One place where this is going to fail badly is low-light.
They could put a battery in there, but i wouldn't be all excited about having a battery in my eye either when you consider leakage, explosions and such.
Yeah, its not so much of a problem considering that they actually HAVE sight now, but coming from a "nocturnal" person, i'd hate this.

Re:Chip? Why? (2, Informative)

Kz (4332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30592964)

The eye certainly doesn't have any processors of any sort in there.
It has a detector and some wiring in to the brain.

wrong. the retina does a lot of quite useful processing on the image before sending quite high-level data to the brain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina#Spatial_Encoding [wikipedia.org]

there are lots of hard-to-explain cases where somebody can see perfectly; but can't detect movement, or where can't recognize the border between shapes, and therefore is unable to make sense of what sees, etc.

Re:Chip? Why? (1)

juggledean (792527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30592978)

I know it's just ranting but I'd like to let people know that there are processors in the eye. The message sent to the brain is not just a bmp representation of the image on the retina. Wikipedia probably knows more.
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