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Implant Gives Grayscale Vision To the Blind Using Lasers

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the not-safe-for-mcdonald's dept.

Medicine 165

MrSeb writes with a bit from Extreme Tech: "After a lot of theorizing, posturing, and non-human trials, it looks like bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market — first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S. These implants can restore sight to completely blind patients — though only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, as in macular degeneration (which millions of old people suffer from), diabetic retinopathy, or other degenerative eye diseases. ... The Bio-Retina, developed by Nano Retina, is a whole lot more exciting. The Bio-Retina costs ... around the $60,000 [and] the 576-pixel vision-restoring sensor is actually placed inside the eye, on top of the retina. The operation only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. Once installed, 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into your optic nerve. The best bit, though, is how the the sensor is powered: The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough."

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165 comments

finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679023)

we can finally have sharks with frickin laser beams coming out of their eyes.

Re:finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679027)

This is how it starts. The first blows in the war between Augmented Humans and the Naturals.

Keep humanity free from machines!

Be pure, be vigilant, behave!

Re:finally... (1)

Vapula (14703) | about 2 years ago | (#40679463)

There are aleady hearing restoration though a devinde put in the head with the receptor and an electrode sending the "sound signal", and a device looking like a standard earing helper with the microphone and the emitter, put around the ear.

And years ago (15-20 years ago), I read in a book about electronics and what it allows about an artificial hand controlled by the brain (it could open/close the fingers), with heat and pressure captors which would send some basic feeling to the brain... It required lots of training to learn to control it but was working afaik.

too late !! We already built the brain pacemaker (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about 2 years ago | (#40679519)

too late we have a few brain pacemakers to treat drugs resistant epilepsy

Re:finally... (2)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#40680525)

It's going to make Jiordi LaForge's vision prosthetic look as outdated as Kirk's flip phone in TOS.

Ain't technology great? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679033)

This is super cool, if it works, but I'll shit golden sunshine before I let someone near my eyeball with a knife!

Re:Ain't technology great? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679113)

I think if you were unable to see sufficently to function you would take this option! I certainly did when I got lasic.

Re:Ain't technology great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679121)

Says the person who has perfect vision.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40679123)

Would you say that if you couldn't see at all?

Re:Ain't technology great? (4, Insightful)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | about 2 years ago | (#40679131)

This is super cool, if it works, but I'll shit golden sunshine before I let someone near my eyeball with a knife!

If you were blind would you care?

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about 2 years ago | (#40679301)

If you are blind you only get one done. Then see how it works before getting the other done. Or wait until version 3 or 4 before getting the other one done.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40679313)

Eyes are very sensitive whether you can see through them or not. Personally, I can't even manage putting eyedrops in my eyes. I'd rather sit with my eyes closed until they generate enough lubrication on their own than use eyedrops, and that can take 20 minutes or so if I'm really stoned.

If I were totally blind, I'd probably opt for surgery. But it would have to be general anesthetic.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

nerdinblack (1707264) | about 2 years ago | (#40680503)

I have had eye surgery with local anesthetic. I was not that bad, in fact I don't remember much of what happened during the surgery. I was told before the surgery that the local anesthetic was also a amnesiac.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

robot_love (1089921) | about 2 years ago | (#40679371)

This is super cool, if it works, but I'll shit golden sunshine before I let someone near my eyeball with a knife!

If you were blind would you care?

If you were blind, how would you know?

Re:Ain't technology great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680017)

So if you were constipated, would you care someone coming from behind with a knife?

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680101)

That's a shitty analogy.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#40679315)

I'd imagine you'd have a different opinion on knives and your eyes if you were blind.

Re:Ain't technology great? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679327)

You should try CXL surgery for a keratoconus, they don't actually cut anything but they drill away the upper layer of your cornea and you're only under local anesthetic so you see it coming. It looks just like a household drill with a small sander and works just the same. After that it's smooth sailing though and if you've gone from -3/-4 to -8/-10 in sight in less then a year you'll do pretty much anything to make it stop. I'm pretty sure a blind person would go through hell to see.

Re:Ain't technology great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679331)

This is super cool, if it works, but I'll shit golden sunshine before I let someone near my eyeball with a knife!

I'd like to see that. Post a video on youtube if you can.

Re:Ain't technology great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679455)

Then - my friend - hope you will never live long enough to develop cataract.

You see - everyone gets cataract when aging. Now - not everyone gets it in a equally severe form, but a lot of people do.

I can confirm this, because not long ago my natural lenses where replaced by artificial ones. That restored my sight to a sharpness I did not experienced since I was young. The result is very pleasing, although I can not longer accommodate and need reading glasses. That is a small offer when the alternative is blindness such severe bad sight it is almost blindness.

Anyway - the whole operation was painless and while there was a knife cutting in my eye I never felt anything about it.

So don't worry. Chances are big in the future you will indeed get that knife in your eye, but by that time you will be glad it does - and wont feel a thing about it...

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#40679655)

It is probably worth pointing out that the vast majority of people with cataracts could dramatically improve their vision just by using N-acetylcarnosine eye drops daily for a few months. Cataract surgery should be reserved for only the most serious cases, and only when eye drop treatment has failed. Instead, surgery seems to be the default treatment in the U.S. And this is, in part, why medical care is so expensive here....

citation needed (2)

ridgecritter (934252) | about 2 years ago | (#40680173)

A quick WikiP search indicated the latest evidence for effectiveness against cataracts of N-acc drops was not real solid (see 2008 Royal College of Opthalmologists statement), the the Wiki article also indicates subsequent evidence is available, but doesn't give a cite. As someone who's developing corneal opacities, I'm interested, can you give a cite or two? Tnx.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

hedley (8715) | about 2 years ago | (#40679667)

Hope you don't get cataracts then. They used a diamond scalpel on my eye to pop that acrylic lens in.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40679997)

You know it's intended for blind people, right? Also, it can't run Minecraft (yet).

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

parlancex (1322105) | about 2 years ago | (#40680459)

Certain types of laser eye surgery require an incision to be made in order to temporarily fold back the surface of the eye in order to access the applicable layers with the laser. Though it certainly sounds terrifying (especially because you're awake and maintain full motor control of your eyes while this is happening) I had this done a few weeks ago and my vision is almost better than it was with my glasses.

impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679037)

they will be driving cars and running over people just like the rest of us in no time

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679047)

first post

Close but no cigar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679057)

"The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough.""

Dr. Evil: "Oh FFS...the laser goes OUT of the eye, not INTO it!"

Retina Display Anyone? (4, Funny)

oic0 (1864384) | about 2 years ago | (#40679069)

I think I'll wait for the high res apple version with retina display ;) The resolution on these bad boys blows. (disclaimer, I hate apple but couldn't help myself).

Re:Retina Display Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679089)

i see what you did there

Re:Retina Display Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679099)

I just hope the eyes come 3-D ready. I hate wearing those stupid glasses in the theater.

Re:Retina Display Anyone? (4, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about 2 years ago | (#40679329)

You mean the iEye? Sigh.

If such a product were available, I could imagine Apple zealots* lining up, waiting to poke their eyes out as soon as it was their turn...

(*Not picking on all Apple users, just the extremists)

Re:Retina Display Anyone? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40679439)

Willing Test Subject. Perfect

Re:Retina Display Anyone? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#40680047)

?IEye? !Ay ay ay!

"I see" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679101)

said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.

Careful. (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40679137)

I'm always happy for research done to improve mobility and functioning for disabled people. Not enough is done to help those who are vision, mobility, or hearing impaired. That said... be really careful out there. There's way too many people who are scared by anyone who looks different. Steve Mann was recently attacked [huffingtonpost.com] for having a digital eye prothetic by employees of a McDonald's. There didn't appear to be any motive for the assault other than a fear of his prothetics. His family was with him at the time.

I've heard similar reports of people being attacked who have brain implants to deliver electrical stimulation due to epilepsy, depression, etc. If it's visible, sooner or later some stupid neanderthal bastard's going to attack you for it. I personally think it should be a hate crime to attack a disabled (or 'augmented') person... but it's still more science fiction than science fact to our legislators to consider, I think.

Re:Careful. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679193)

Modded negatively because (a) you didn't read through and understand the motive for the assault on Steve Mann (thus you are spreading FUD), and (b) you are trying to justify your ignorance with hearsay. Provide facts or state your case as opinion or just STFU.

Re:Careful. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40679247)

Modded negatively because (a) you didn't read through and understand the motive for the assault on Steve Mann (thus you are spreading FUD), and (b) you are trying to justify your ignorance with hearsay. Provide facts or state your case as opinion or just STFU.

Sayeth the chickenshit AC.

Re:Careful. (3, Informative)

Glarimore (1795666) | about 2 years ago | (#40679525)

Quite honestly, I don't know why we shit on ACs just for being ACs. It's the same thing as an ad hominem attack, which we regularly condemn here.

In reality the AC is correct and the grandparent is incorrect in his assertion that, "There didn't appear to be any motive for the assault other than a fear of his prothetics." Grandparent is apparently unaware that essentially all information regarding Mann's incident comes from his blog. There was thorough discussion on Slashdot about possible motives and I think it was generally agreed upon that the reason for the attack was a perfect storm of a) language barrier b) Mann's disregard for the rules of McDonalds, and from what I gather, unwillingness to leave (no filming or pictures) and c) McDonald's employees who are currently trying to keep their restaurant, which is currently under protest, from going under.

All this being said, AC's comment, though correct, was inflammatory with the "state facts or STFU" spiel at the end. It looks like there are only losers here.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679749)

If only his assailants had guns, and were able to preempt Mann's vicious slander.

Re:Careful. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679263)

As disagreeable as your comment may be, you are right. The grandparent is way off base with the Mann story and doesn't really know what they are talking about in general.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679445)

How are they "off base"? Are you saying that the attack on Mann was in some way justifiable, or that it wasn't motivated by the presence of his implant?

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679539)

The implant was the motive, however it wasn't because the implant made him look different. So the comment that "there's way too many people who are scared by anyone who looks different" is specious.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679681)

Except that it was because he looks different.

They saw the implant and assumed (and bear in mind that this is the most generous motive yet conceived of for their actions) that Mann was photographing their menu (ignoring the bizarre logic that this is somehow a bad thing to do).

And even that doesn't hold up, because they attacked him AFTER he had a) cleared things with a manager by showing him documentation for the implant and b) already purchased his food and sat down to eat, thus no longer being in a position to commit the "crime" of taking pictures of the menu. Any "threat" he could possibly have posed, even in their imaginations, had passed by the time they chose to assault him, steal his food, and damage his property. So we are left only with the unusual appearance his implant created as the motive for their crime.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679973)

Read the story and the slashdot discussion about it. You are completely wrong.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680165)

I did and I'm not.

Re:Careful. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40679563)

As with pretty much all posts with girlintraining, the post gets some basic information right, and then goes off on a wild goose chase. The attack was motivated by his implant, but the motivation was absolutely not "he looked different". Instead, they objected to the fact that the camera was photographing them, which was counter the rules they had set up, and which were indicated on the sign outside the restaurant. Finally, her last comment is unsubstantiated hearsay, and probably flat out wrong as well. I don't remember any case like that, and I have a special interest in anything brain-implant related.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679363)

I read the article and I must have also misunderstood the reason for the attack. There seems to be only one of two reasons. 1) They wanted to steal it 2) they didn't like it.

Re:Careful. (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40679495)

It was because McDonalds in France doesn't like their menus being photographed. They wen't to pretty extreme measures just for some foolish reason. McDonalds is trying to confirm that it was actually their employees in the pictures, and the motive. Still boils down to fear of cybernetic prosthesis. It would be like stealing a hearing aid because he might be able to record the conversation.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679577)

> "Still boils down to fear of cybernetic prosthesis."

No, it boils down to the guy taking pictures of the premises. It being a prosthesis is irrelevant.

Re:Careful. (3, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40680235)

> "Still boils down to fear of cybernetic prosthesis."

No, it boils down to the guy taking pictures of the premises. It being a prosthesis is irrelevant.

As far as I could tell from the admittedly-scant information the /. story and linked article provided about Mann's implants & digital vision augmentations, it seems they were not designed, nor had as a normal function, the ability to photograph/video-record on command. The pictures of Mann's attackers were said to have resulted from the attacker's damaging the system resulting in the images being frozen in buffers.

If McDonalds or any other business that deals directly with the public in such a manner has a problem with the possible capabilities of such prosthesis, then they need to post high-visibility signage at the entrances stating that those with electronic-based prosthesis are not welcome on the premises.

Assault & battery is not an acceptable response in any civilized society. Then again, the French have never been in danger of being accused of being overly-civil to Americans visiting France. It's one of the main reasons I as a blues musician have turned down opportunities to do tours in France, despite the love the French have for American blues music.

Strat

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680321)

> "it seems they were not designed, nor had as a normal function, the ability to photograph/video-record on command"

They may not have known that it didn't permanently record. They just saw a camera affixed to the guy's face and acted. The documentation he showed them might have stated the information is transient, but given the language barrier and the fact that establishment has been under attack from the media it's reasonable that they didn't trust him.

> "If McDonalds or any other business that deals directly with the public in such a manner has a problem with the possible capabilities of such prosthesis, then they need to post high-visibility signage at the entrances stating that those with electronic-based prosthesis are not welcome on the premises."

They did have signs stating cameras were not allowed. It was written out and there was a symbol of a camera with a line through it.

I'm not condoning the actions of the supposed attackers, I'm pointing out that they were attacking him because of the presence of a camera, not the presence of a prosthesis.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679273)

Once "augments" are a bit more common place, I'm sure the situation will be addressed, probably in two ways: Primarily, it will become less "strange" over time, so the stupid neanderthals will be less prone to fear.

If that doesn't resolve the issue naturally, then special laws may be enacted, or extensions of existing laws to make this kind of assault a bigger deal. And not even for "hate crime" or personal bias reasons. If bionics and the like become common place, we'll likely see them used to sustain life in people that would otherwise be on permanent bed-rest. You mentioned epilepsy: Imagine the damage that could be caused to the person if THAT augment was damaged, or if someone pulled out an external battery powering my artificial heart What happened to Steve Mann is tragic and inexcusable, but at no point was his life in immediate danger.

Re:Careful. (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#40679303)

a shouldn't mess with nature/God/et cetera attitude?

careful, but in a different way... (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40679423)

...There didn't appear to be any motive for the assault other than a fear of his prothetics...

The apparent motive was that they didn't want to be filmed and were trying to confiscate his camera. Of course many business establishments have a policy against taking pictures or video (under the guise of security and patron/employee privacy, but more likely to avoid any bad publicity).

Unfortunatly, these folks were likely not well trained on how to handle this and as a result even worse publicity will result from this incident.

That doesn't make this event a hate crime against people with prosthetics, though...

My policy: you should be careful not to cry wolf when there isn't really a wolf, because when the wolf comes (and they aways do), people might have already written you off.

Re:careful, but in a different way... (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40679443)

damn preview timer, messed up the quote tags.. Oh well...

Re:Careful. (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#40679651)

Except this is invisible. If you'd watched the video linked in TFA, you'd have noticed that the implant itself is entirely hidden in the eye (and is smaller than a penny) and uses a specially modified but otherwise plain-looking pair of eyeglasses to get power.

If you get assaulted for wearing glasses, well, we have really big problems.

Re:Careful. (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#40679703)

guess you didn't read that story. that mcdonalds was being harassed by the media. they thought the camera was for the media.

Re:Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679833)

I'm always happy for research done to improve mobility and functioning for disabled people. Not enough is done to help those who are vision, mobility, or hearing impaired. That said... be really careful out there. There's way too many people who are scared by anyone who looks different. Steve Mann was recently attacked [huffingtonpost.com] for having a digital eye prothetic by employees of a McDonald's. There didn't appear to be any motive for the assault other than a fear of his prothetics. His family was with him at the time.

I've heard similar reports of people being attacked who have brain implants to deliver electrical stimulation due to epilepsy, depression, etc. If it's visible, sooner or later some stupid neanderthal bastard's going to attack you for it. I personally think it should be a hate crime to attack a disabled (or 'augmented') person... but it's still more science fiction than science fact to our legislators to consider, I think.

Oh and Im sure he didnt do anything or say anything to provoke it. "Oh but officer they attacked me because my funny glasses. I certainly didnt do anything /cries". I cant say I believe that was all one sided and he walked in and someone said "AHHHHH! Its the terminator here to kill us! Get it!".

People often automatically take the victims side and say oh that poor man, even if they arent the victim but were the ones to paint themselves as such. I could go out and pick on someone till they hit me and lay down and cry and tell the police I was just being friendly to them and I did nothing wrong while they went to jail and I get a pat on the back.

You need to grow up and stop blindly siding with anything you read or hear.

But will it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679167)

...get you a beat-down in a French McDonalds?

Introducing the iEye (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#40679207)

Every year, a new version will come out with less invasive surgery, better resolution, color... night mode... I hope they make these things somewhat easy to upgrade. Just imagining being able to switch visible spectrum has me wanting the future version for myself.

Re:Introducing the iEye (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40679325)

Every year, a new version will come out with less invasive surgery, better resolution, color... night mode... I hope they make these things somewhat easy to upgrade. Just imagining being able to switch visible spectrum has me wanting the future version for myself.

This.

Not knocking the achievement - a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, and all, however...

Wake me when we get to the enhancement phase; I always wanted to be able to switch between vision modes like in Predator.


The wrist blades and mini-nuke would be bitchin', too, although that might be asking a bit much...

Re:Introducing the iEye (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#40679619)

I wouldn't get your hopes up too much, they're not really doing anything to map out the neurons in the eye. They're just punching through and stimulating whatever neurons are behind that spot of the retina, which will be "close enough" to give you a low-resolution grayscale image but they haven't got a clue on how to stimulate only one type of receptors so you can have color or to map it accurately so you can have high resolution. A working eye is a helluva sensor and I suspect we'll be using night vision goggles and such to translate invisible light to visible light for many decades to come.

waiting for IPS repair options (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40679251)

My mom is (was) a fine artist, and has macular degeneration. Is is almost completely blind in one eye, and half blind in the other.

It is my wish that IPS treatments for macular repair become a reality before she dies of old age, as it is something I would really like to get for her.

I'm not knocking the progress on this optical implant, but it only does greyscale and without serious microsurgery, will never stop being greyscale only. She needs full color to regain what she lost.

When they can regenerate damaged retinal tissue, I'm flying mom to Europe.

Re:waiting for IPS repair options (3, Interesting)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40679771)

I'm not knocking the progress on this optical implant, but it only does greyscale and without serious microsurgery, will never stop being greyscale only. She needs full color to regain what she lost.

There's no reason to believe that fancy microsurgery is required in order to visualize color. As a trivial example, nearly all color digital cameras have color filter arrays embedded over a monochrome sensor (other than foveon/sigma). It's not a big stretch to imagine that a future revision of this chip could have a color filter array and your brain (visual cortex) could learn to recognize different spatial encoding patterns as different colors.

That's similar to what your brain does now (although the retina helps by doing some type of local opponent-color coding). If the color mapping isn't easy for your brain to learn and you need a mapping more like your original mapping, in the worst case, you could even make the sensor configurable (stimulate different nerves for different colors). Although if you did this "simply" the pixels might be slightly scrambled, but that could be compensated for by using a really high resolution sensor (all cameras have multi-megapixel sensors these days), and then recoding to a lower resolution for output to the optic nerve.

All these things can be easily done on the sensor chip itself w/o requiring more advanced surgical techniques... Ah the wonder of silicon technology...

P.S. Dibs on the patents for this (or at least prior-art on the idea)...

24*24 Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679287)

Is that 24p, or only 24i?

It's not so great (yet) (4, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#40679297)

They claim a 24x24 pixel image. The video shows a low-resolution grey scale video of a kid on a swing. Looks fantastic if you consider going from blind to THAT. However I paused a frame and the kids head was 12 pixels wide. So the overall image is probably at least 120 to 240 wide - many times higher resolution than the device actually produces. So the video is not actually representative. With further advancements one can hope (expect?) that the resolution will increase over the years. Gives new meaning to "retina display".

Re:It's not so great (yet) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679555)

Yes, it's really just 'healthcare' supported research. That way the patient is still on the hook for the bill, even though they incur the real risk. After all, it's not like the tech companies, the hospitals or the surgeons are having their skulls opened up and foreign bodies inserted in their brains.

I've always wondered why the poor captive research test subject isn't compensated for their part, but that wouldn't be the capitalist way, would it.

24x24 pixel 'eyesight' and a pat on the back wouldn't be enough reward for Fido...

Re:It's not so great (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680313)

I've always wondered why the poor captive research test subject isn't compensated for their part

Yea it's not like they got some of their vision back or anything. Damn selfish researchers!

Re:It's not so great (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679585)

Actually your brain remembers the eye position and what the eye was looking at. It uses these to construct a mental image of much higher resolution. The area of your eye with good resolution is actually rather small, but the effect is seamless.

Re:It's not so great (yet) (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40680069)

I watched the video as well and caught that right away. That's not the only thing they BSed though. Obviously it can only go in 1 eye, as the pixels wouldn't match up perfectly 1:1 between the eyes so the user would be disoriented and have no depth perception. It says that the glasses contain the power source which is rechargeable and shine a laser into your eye. I hope it doesn't miss that impossibly small device and keep hitting your organic cells. I'm sure it'd be fine if you never ever ever move your head (or lose your glasses lol). I just downsampled a random video I had to 24x24 grayscale. It wasn't real pretty. It was actually quite confusing as to what part I was actually watching and I knew the video.
I think that was a very misleading marketing video or investor bait. The theory sort of works though so if they make one 10x better, they might just have something there.

Re:It's not so great (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680427)

I imagine it's not shining a high powered laser into the eye, it's just powerful enough for the photovoltaic cells to capture it and turn into usable electricity. The light might be so dim, or too far out of the visible spectrum, that a seeing person might not notice it if it were shining directly into their eye.

Re:It's not so great (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680455)

It's not at all obvious that you could only have it in one eye. The brain is excellent at dealing with imperfect sensory inputs. It would adapt to the alignment just fine.

That said, 24x24 is not enough pixels. 100x100 feels like a bare minimum (able to read a large sign), with 500x500 being good enough to gain widespread use (able to recognize a person's face at a distance).

Re:It's not so great (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680625)

I mean... SD TV is 640 x 480. As for your "gain widespread use" comment, I'm pretty sure blind people aren't going to refuse a 100x100 pixel vision implant if the alternative is simply to go blind.

Re:It's not so great (yet) (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 2 years ago | (#40680271)

When humans view stuff their eyes constantly move. The brain stitches all the images together to get a great view of whats going on. The human eye really isn't that great of a camera but it is connected to the greatest image processing software in the universe. Since the sensor implants directly into the optic nerve I bet the human brain can make the most of the sensor and people with the implant can see better than you think.

Re:It's not so great (yet) (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#40680557)

Even 24x24 would be enough to help you navigate around as you walk. That would be a HUGE step up from being blind. Also, by moving your eye around a bit, you could probably get more effective detail--like how if you move your head while looking through showerglass you can get a better idea of what's behind it.* Or, you can be standing near the frame of a door that's open 2mm and by moving your head back and forth you can get a pretty good idea of what's on the other side.**

OK, better example: watch some really tiny video, like 160x120. While it's playing, you can see a good amount of detail, but if you pause a frame, the details are barely discernible.

* No, I am not a peeping Tom.

** Really, I'm not. :-)

Upgrades for "perfect" vision (1)

otuz (85014) | about 2 years ago | (#40679347)

Some day, these will evolve into incredible resolutions and better sharpness and viewing angles technically possible with analog eyes. Add some good interfaces for displaying synthetic signals without cameras, and you'll have the perfect monitor. I think I saw the research for this stuff in late 90's, so turning research into mass-market products seems to have at least a decade of delay. The current research stuff being direct brain implants not only for eyesight, but sending and reading nerve signals directly to/from the brain means we'll all be bionic cyborgs within a couple of decades, if we can afford it.

Wow! (3)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#40679359)

So wonderful! My grandfather went blind towards the end of his life, or nearly so. Having sight again would have been something he dearly would have liked for reading. I hope this continues to advance and quickly for all those who are sight impaired.

WARNING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679375)

Do not point laser in to remaing eye.

Another Star Trek Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679383)

Yet another piece of technology from the Star Trek:TNG show that is now coming from SciFi into reality.

Re:Another Star Trek Prediction (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#40679489)

Hell, this is almost a step ABOVE Star Trek. Jordie still had to wear that funny hair-clip visor around. These guys are just wearing normal (normal-ish) glasses.

What I can not figure out... (2)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about 2 years ago | (#40679405)

Is just *why* the blind are using lasers!

Re:What I can not figure out... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40679765)

Is just *why* the blind are using lasers!

Well, they weren't blind when they first started using them...

"modified" to shoot lasers? (2)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#40679415)

Never mind the parts that the author did not feel were important enough to mention:
1) the lasers
2) The power source for the lasers

Last I checked, standard corrective lenses didn't have anything batteries, electronics, or even the raw materials to make power sources or electronics.

They are just regular sharks. Well, apart from the friggin lasers on top of their heads!

Why fucking bother with the god-damned blind? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679427)

Why fucking bother with the god-damned blind? Why not let natural selection take it's course instead to weed out the weak genes?

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR
WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MODPOINTS
FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!!

This is cruel (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#40679435)

A video like this gives false hope and supplies AMD sufferers with unreal expectations. I spent yesterday assisting the treatment of dozens of AMD patients and this hype about an experimental procedure caused me grief as I had to explain several times how much actual sight the implant would supply and then watch their dismay.

Science marches on.. (4, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#40679469)

Eyes ain't the only thing being replaced by tech

A buddy of mine is a type 1 diabetic; he was simply born with a faulty pancreas. For the majority of his life, he dealt with constant insulin injections, as typical for a diabetic. A few years back however, he was upgraded to an external pump. It looks just like an old beeper, and plugs into a semi-permanent* injection point under his shirt. Whenever he eats, he just has to push a few buttons on the pump and it steadily drips the correct amount of insulin into his blood stream

Of course, a pancreas isn't nearly as complex as an eye, so I'm glad to see science and medicine marching onward. Given that these advancements have happened in just a few short years, has me excited to see what will happen in this field within the next decade or so.

*semi-permanent: He stab himself once every few days, and there's a whole bracketing system roughly the size of a silver dollar that glues onto his skin and keeps the needle/tubing at the correct depth.

Photovoltaic? (2)

squidflakes (905524) | about 2 years ago | (#40679521)

If their power comes from a photovoltaic chip on corrective lenses, does that mean that you're going to wake-up blind every morning?

Re:Photovoltaic? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40680079)

Blind and unable to see or remember where you left your glasses that you didn't sleep in :-P

Hopefully improved (3, Interesting)

tsotha (720379) | about 2 years ago | (#40679659)

I'm hoping not only that resolution improves (and color, naturally), but why stop there? I wouldn't mind being able to see in UV bands and a telescopic lens would be nice.

Re:Hopefully improved (4, Interesting)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 2 years ago | (#40679889)

You might find that the 576 pixels gives the patients better vision than you'd imagine. They'll not be driving or reading any small-print, but our eyes are not massively high res to start with and the brain does a ton of work to scan them around to put the scene together and enhancing the result "post-production". Of course compared to blind even if it isn't all that good it'll still be a massively life changing improvement.

Just think: in a few decades time "you'll go blind" will no longer be a threat to 14 years olds...

In other words... (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 2 years ago | (#40679711)

After a lot of theorizing, posturing, and non-human trials, it looks like bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market â" first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S.

Europeans shall play guinea pig for Americans.

Alt headline: Blind Sharks Rejoice (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#40679735)

The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye.

From the subject, you obviously know where I'm going with this...

I'll Wait (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 years ago | (#40679743)

A resolution of 576 pixels is better than nothing, but I'm going to wait for a Retina display.

Avoid Mcdonalds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679747)

Careful to not take that into McDonalds.

Cost will increase with insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40679813)

There is one thing I'm sure of: if it is covered under ObamaCare (or any insurance), the cost of this technology will go up over time, not down.

The Future (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 years ago | (#40679951)

Since it's 576 lines, it must be PAL, which means she's seeing stuff happen with a speedup of about 4.271%.
Give it a few weeks and she'll know the lottery numbers before they're drawn.

Re:The Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40680233)

I was about to say this should be modded up funny, but then realized you didn't read it right... it's 576 pixels (only 24 lines by 24 wide) not 576 lines. If it was 576 lines, that might actually be worthwhile.
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