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Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the I'm-a-transhumanitarianist-myself dept.

Biotech 102

kkleiner writes "Starting next month, Americans suffering from degenerative eye diseases can get excited about the launch of the Argus II, a bionic eye implant to partially restore vision. Designed for those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, the Argus II is a headset that looks akin to Google Glass but is actually hard wired into the optic nerve to transmit visual information from a 60 electrode array. The device opens the door for similar 'humanitarian' implants that both reduce the difficulty in getting government approval and increase the adoption of brain implants."

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Hard wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483129)

Why not make it wireless and thus more easily upgradeable!

Re:Hard wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483153)

Any signal disruption from interference would cause blindness.

Re:Hard wired (4, Insightful)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 10 months ago | (#45486193)

Any signal disruption from interference would cause blindness.

... which would be awesome because then you could have LaForge moments! And say shit like "My visor just cut out, I'm getting wide spectrum EM interference!" and 'blindly' grope your date.

Re:Hard wired (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#45483175)

The primary thing to upgrade is the electrode array, which means you're going to have to open up the patient's eye anyway. With a hardwired connection you don't need to worry about powering the array, signal quality, processing the incoming signal, etc. You also have fewer security concerns.

Re:Hard wired (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484511)

> The primary thing to upgrade is the electrode array, which means you're going to have to open up the patient's eye anyway. With a hardwired connection you don't need to worry about powering the array, signal quality, processing the incoming signal, etc. You also have fewer security concerns.

Been there, done that. Designed some of the first current stimulators for visual prostheses. There are *enormous* problems with increasing the resolution of the electrode array. One is that, by connecting to the optic nerve directly, all the pre-processing edge detection and motion detection that occurs in the retina is skipped. The optic nerve normally carries pre-processed data. That pre-processing is sophisticated and very individual, depending on the individual's own physical connections between sight related sensors. If you don't believe me, look up Jerry Lettvin's old single electrode work on frog visual sensors.

Another is that as the electrodes become smaller, the current density becomes higher, electrical noise increases, and the amount of voltage necessary to deposit enough charge to stimulates local neurons climbs. Some of that means power issues for the stimulator, other parts mean that when the current density gets high enough due to tiny electrodes, you get electrolysis, which is *BAD* to do inside someone's active nervous system if you'd like the nerves to ever work again.

None of this is helped by digital processing, or trying to send the signal down an RF or magnetically coupled signal to an embedded receiver. That lesson was learned the hard way with other neural implants, such as cochlear implants and muscular-neural interfaces..

Re:Hard wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488345)

so what is the solution then? how do we upgrade the electrodes without opening up the patient again and again?

Re:Hard wired (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#45484065)

Yeah! And you could offer free eyes that occasionally replace things with placement ads!

And send vision data to our government benefactors to help protect us from terrorists and ourselves!

Tomorrow is today, my friend.

Re:Hard wired (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 10 months ago | (#45485225)

Pretty sure tin foil hats would block incoming/outgoing signals.

Only thing we need to know: (3, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 10 months ago | (#45483131)

Will it make that cool "boop-boop-boop-boop" noise?

Re:Only thing we need to know: (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#45483213)

Re:Only thing we need to know: (1)

goldaryn (834427) | about 10 months ago | (#45483215)

Will it make that cool "boop-boop-boop-boop" noise?

Of course! That's why Picard always borrows it to save the Enterprise!

Just great... (4, Interesting)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 10 months ago | (#45483157)

Now people who rage agains't people with Google Glass are going to go ape shit over someone who has an actual disability :(

I remember reading about people doing that to disabled people using Segways.

Re:Just great... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 10 months ago | (#45483887)

What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome, that would not also hamper use of a segway?

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483961)

What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome, that would not also hamper use of a segway?

Indeed. If you can stand for an extended period of time then you can walk on your own as well.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45487847)

For reals? What about heart patients? Most are not supposed to get their heart rate up high like walking around all day would do, but they still need to walk around all day...See where this is going now? Yeah, a power chair would work too, but when someone is weak due to a DISABILITY they probably have a harder time getting in and out of a chair and would rather just stand.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488099)

For reals? What about heart patients? Most are not supposed to get their heart rate up high like walking around all day would do, but they still need to walk around all day...See where this is going now? Yeah, a power chair would work too, but when someone is weak due to a DISABILITY they probably have a harder time getting in and out of a chair and would rather just stand.

Standing for long periods of time is going to be a lot more physically demanding than standing up once in a while. Try again.

As for the actual story, my immediate reaction is "About Goddamn Time"
This tech should have been hitting Consumers in the mid 90's, it's fucking stupid that we're at least 20 years behind where we ought to be.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484243)

What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome, that would not also hamper use of a segway?

Obesity. Yeah, it's a disability. Deal with it.

Re:Just great... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 10 months ago | (#45484515)

I'm not entirely convinced the segway will help that disability at all.
Sure it would help getting around, but it would also help the obesity an awful lot too.

Re:Just great... (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about 10 months ago | (#45484957)

The problem is the Segway has a weight limit. People who are fat tend be to be over that weight...

Re:Just great... (2)

killkillkill (884238) | about 10 months ago | (#45485083)

Okay, obesity is a disability... but a Segway would make this disabilty worse rather than help overcome it.

Re:Just great... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 10 months ago | (#45485139)

Obesity.

I thought that's what those scooters were for.

Yeah, it's a disability. Deal with it.

Whether or not it is a disability, I just cannot imagine an obese person using a segway. Wouldn't they prefer an option that did not require them to stand?

Re:Just great... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 10 months ago | (#45484881)

Honestly... Segways for the Disabled [lmgtfy.com]

You don't need to be fully mobile to lean.

Re:Just great... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 10 months ago | (#45486283)

If I have misread your post, I just want to apologize up-front about it.
---
You know, I really hate lmgtfy. It implies that there are such things as stupid questions, which is something that I try to not believe in. And why should anyone ask anything of anyone else, when non-judgmental google is just a mouse-click away? It's not like someone might want to contribute to a semi-realtime conversation with other actual humans, right?

I was genuinely curious what kinds of disabilities a segway would help with. I mean, if you can stand and lean, that implies that you can walk, does it not? And if you can walk, what do you need a seqway for? What part of your disability is it compensating for at that point?

Now? I don't know. But the attitude that I read in your post? I wouldn't be surprised if those kinds of attitudes are part of the reason some people "go ape shit over someone who has an actual disability".

Re:Just great... (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 10 months ago | (#45486723)

Y I was genuinely curious what kinds of disabilities a segway would help with. I mean, if you can stand and lean, that implies that you can walk, does it not? And if you can walk, what do you need a seqway for? What part of your disability is it compensating for at that point?

There are indeed problems that make it difficult to walk, yet the person has no problem standing.

Charcot Marie Tooth for instance. This is a genetic condition that slows down the transmission of nerve signals. It comes on at different stages of life, It affects different areas of the body, often times legs, some times hands, some times eyes. Odd condition.

The typical sufferer wears braces that help them stand straight, and to help avoid the ankle turning that often happens. With these, a person can have something approaching a normal gait.

A person with this issue can certainly walk, but it isn't an experience that others might like to share. Tends to be just a little painful at first, and getting more so as the day wears on. A situation not unlike Diabetic neuropathy happens fairly often.

Standing? Yes, a CT afflicted person can stand all day. And they can also make very very good use of a Segway.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45487873)

LMGTFY doesn't imply there are stupid questions, it just implies that you didn't exhaust your options and look for yourself...nope you'd rather shout into the ether and expect some person to answer you because you are too stupid to look through some search results.

If you were genuinely curious, you'd look before you start asking. See how that works? 1 is something you can do for yourself, the other is just being annoying. We're all online, we can all google whatever, get to it.

When you are challenging someone's assertions, you need to get your evidence yourself, do not ask the guy you are badgering to prove a point for you or you will get a LMGTFY. Don't like it? Google it yourself.

Re: Just great... (1)

G. Michael Murphy (3440609) | about 10 months ago | (#45488513)

Check out segs4vets.org. Segways made to work for vets with artificial legs (or no legs at all).

Re:Just great... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 10 months ago | (#45489849)

You know, I really hate lmgtfy. It implies that there are such things as stupid questions, which is something that I try to not believe in. And why should anyone ask anything of anyone else, when non-judgmental google is just a mouse-click away? It's not like someone might want to contribute to a semi-realtime conversation with other actual humans, right?

Your offence is noted, though as the other poster noted, LMGTFY isn't meant to imply there are stupid questions, only that it was something that ought to have just been googled.

I particularly felt like expressing an "attitude" because I was "hearing" an attitude in your post (and others) that implied that Segways don't make sense for people who are disabled, when I consider that patently false. (I actually see it as being more useful to people with mobility problems then for people who can walk normally.)

An old lady with a bad hip, a vet with no legs, a person with stunted growth in their legs or feet, a person with a spinal injury, etc, all seem way more likely and better candidates for a Segway for day to day use then a healthy 30 something business exec in a 3 piece. It would allow them near normal mobility, at normal speeds, and a level of confidence and independence that might not be afforded by a wheelchair.

Re:Just great... (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 10 months ago | (#45491007)

You know, I really hate lmgtfy. It implies that there are such things as stupid questions

I don't take it that way. To me it means there are questions that now one can easily be answered by search rather than asking someone else. "How tall is the Eiffel Tower" is not a stupid question, but posting it online instead of looking it up is a bit rude.

Re:Just great... (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 10 months ago | (#45485925)

> What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome

Er... you know that Segway was actually a spin-off technology from the iBot, which was basically a Segway wheelchair with a second pair of wheels it could use in places that were too unstable for Segway-like operation (read: sand at a beach), when the user wanted to lower the chair down to normal seating height (to sit at a table/desk or converse), or even to climb stairs.

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

Unfortunately, production ceased a few years ago, but nobody expects the cessation to truly be permanent. The main problem was that they were really, really expensive, insurance/medicare/VA generally wouldn't pay for it, and few people in its target market could afford it (even though the lucky few who COULD described it as "life-transforming").

Re:Just great... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 10 months ago | (#45486297)

Er... you know that Segway was actually a spin-off technology from the iBot, which was basically a Segway wheelchair with a second pair of wheels it could use in places that were too unstable for Segway-like operation (read: sand at a beach), when the user wanted to lower the chair down to normal seating height (to sit at a table/desk or converse), or even to climb stairs.

Actually, I was not aware of that. Thank you for informing me about it.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488057)

> What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome,

Chronic Laziness.

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484815)

Did you think people would stop being ignorant, arrogant morons?

Bionic eye! (1)

orion205 (1130561) | about 10 months ago | (#45483189)

Sweet, I've been waiting for this! Well, I've really been waiting for an bionic eye that has zoom function, x-ray vision, recording capability, etc.

We're getting there!

Re:Bionic eye! (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 10 months ago | (#45483225)

Wait a little longer. This thing has very limited improvement thus far. Some patients can make out enhanced shapes. That's it so far. Seems like with today's technology it would be easier to increase the resolution. Pretty awesome stuff if they figure it out.

Re:Bionic eye! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45483643)

Wait a little longer. This thing has very limited improvement thus far.

That's "improvement over blindness," in case anyone wasn't sure what he meant.

Re:Bionic eye! (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 10 months ago | (#45484629)

One wonders if he was shooting for the Funny rating.

Re:Bionic eye! (1)

jamiesan (715069) | about 10 months ago | (#45484445)

Don't forget the crosshairs when linked to your fire arm.

Re:Bionic eye! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#45485411)

Don't forget the crosshairs when linked to your fire arm.

They developed a bionic arm with a built in flamethrower?

Hey Steve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483201)

We can rebuild it. We have the technology!

Insurance coverage? (2)

zerosomething (1353609) | about 10 months ago | (#45483209)

So does anyone actually have insurance coverage that would pay for this kind of thing?

Re:Insurance coverage? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#45483251)

Not mine. Mine's with Aetna.

Re:Insurance coverage? (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 10 months ago | (#45483399)

Not if you live in the United States.

Re:Insurance coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483439)

It had better. This procedure costs six million dollars.

Re:Insurance coverage? (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 10 months ago | (#45483613)

It had better. This procedure costs six million dollars.

That's in 1974 dollars. It's about $29 million dollars today!

Re:Insurance coverage? (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 10 months ago | (#45483937)

TFA says that a study with test subjects would cost $1 mio per person, so I don't see how you can get the procedure to cost $6 mio. According to this article [singularityhub.com] , the device is already on sale in Europe for $100,000, though it may just be for the system itself, not the install.

Re:Insurance coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484187)

TFA says that a study with test subjects would cost $1 mio per person, so I don't see how you can get the procedure to cost $6 mio.

You were born in the 80's, weren't you?

Re:Insurance coverage? (4, Funny)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 10 months ago | (#45485893)

Slashdot UID 1241138, a man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology to build the world's first bionic man, better, faster, stronger, able to understand the previous generation's pop culture references.

Re:Insurance coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484215)

Whoosh!

Re:Insurance coverage? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#45484825)

I don't see how you can get the procedure to cost $6 mio.

You may want to look up popular usage of the word 'Bionic' [wikipedia.org] some time.

G'Kar wants to know... (5, Funny)

psychogre (1475893) | about 10 months ago | (#45483233)

Does it come in red?

Who can afford it? (4, Insightful)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 10 months ago | (#45483235)

Man, at six million dollars, that comes out to $100K per pixel. But if it comes with a bionic arm and a couple of bionic legs, I'm in.

(sorry, somebody had to make the predictable joke)

Re:Who can afford it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488213)

What if it only came with 1 bionic arm, but its also a grappling hook! But, it is so heavy you can't jump... But grappling hook!

I want two! (1)

NotFamous (827147) | about 10 months ago | (#45483243)

Aye, aye, sir!

MY BRAND (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483249)

MY SPECIAL EYES

Re:MY BRAND (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483651)

MY SPECIAL EYES

I called 1-800-IMPLANTS, but they weren't who I was expecting.

Just in time for X-mas! (5, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 10 months ago | (#45483329)

I can finally get that Red Ryder BB gun and Mom will have no argument!

Bionic (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 10 months ago | (#45483381)

It could be pretty useful if they included the ability to see other spectra of light that aren't visible to normal eyes.

Re:Bionic (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 10 months ago | (#45484035)

Now the world has gone to bed
Darkness won't engulf my head
I can see by infra-red
How I hate the night

- Marvin

Re:Bionic (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#45484303)

Well, they have to interface with the optic nerve. I'm pulling this from half-remembered biology lectures, but IIRC nobody is actually sure if the optic nerve can handle a broader spectrum input. It might work, it might compress the new expanded spectrum into the common perceived one, or it might just flip out and overload. We don't know.

Re:Bionic (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 10 months ago | (#45484749)

Well, they have to interface with the optic nerve. I'm pulling this from half-remembered biology lectures, but IIRC nobody is actually sure if the optic nerve can handle a broader spectrum input. It might work, it might compress the new expanded spectrum into the common perceived one, or it might just flip out and overload. We don't know.

Why would the optic nerve need to handle the broader spectrum? You could easily do the "nomalization" in software before
sending it to the optic nerve and even have the software autoswitch to "night vision" when ambient light gets low.

Re:Bionic (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 10 months ago | (#45487241)

I think he's pointing out that the person's conscious experience may be a strange one, or the brain may simply adjust the new in with the old. Just think about your current understanding of color. Could you imagine a new color, one that consists of no other color that you know of now? See, you cannot (no pun intended). So it could be the same thing with seeing other things as well. As in perhaps the reason that we cannot see those things right now could be either that the eye is not capable of detecting those things, or that the optic nerve may not be capable of sending the signal to the brain.

Re:Bionic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45487901)

I've always wondered how Tetrachromatics [wikipedia.org] view the world. It would be really cool if Tetrachromacy could be a feature at some point in the future. The ability to see polarized light and magnetic fields would be relatively simple to implement, but I'm not sure tetrachromacy could even be possible for trichromatics, since we lack the architecture to process it, but with the brain's plasticity it might not be as solid a barrier as it appears.

Re:Bionic (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 10 months ago | (#45487167)

That's an interesting point. Surely the brain would come up with something to do with the extra data, but yeah, very interesting to think over.

Re:Bionic (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 10 months ago | (#45488997)

Well, they have to interface with the optic nerve. I'm pulling this from half-remembered biology lectures, but IIRC nobody is actually sure if the optic nerve can handle a broader spectrum input. It might work, it might compress the new expanded spectrum into the common perceived one, or it might just flip out and overload. We don't know.

We should test it on a living being. I think an animal rights protester would be a suitable test subject, save the tigers and all that.

Higher resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483401)

How long until a 1980x1020 resolution model that accepts a mini-HDMI input?

Re:Higher resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484345)

challenge accepted

Only nitpicking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45486929)

Did you mean 1920 x 1080 alias "Full HD"?

the cyborgs come (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#45483515)

Yes, people with implanted electronic hardware exist. Remember when that was a dream?

Ever heard of an insulin pump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484033)

My 70 year old professor been a cyborg for the last 20 years...

Re:Ever heard of an insulin pump? (2)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#45484841)

My 70 year old professor been a cyborg for the last 20 years...

That might explain why he gets so nervous around that solid gold award for mathematics.

Re:Ever heard of an insulin pump? (1)

kellymcdonald78 (2654789) | about 10 months ago | (#45485647)

Why? is he a dinosaur?

Re:Ever heard of an insulin pump? (1)

petman (619526) | about 10 months ago | (#45487379)

It's a Doctor Who reference. Gold is the Cybermen's [wikipedia.org] weakness.

Same problems as Google Glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483519)

We've seen videos of people wearing Google Glass being harrassed and angry people trying to rip the Google Glass off. I wonder how long until someone tries to rip off this bionic eye thing and causes some real injury.

Re:Same problems as Google Glass (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45483677)

Already happened to a guy in a French McDonald's, either late last year or early this one.

If I find the article I'll post a link.

Re:Same problems as Google Glass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483921)

Got it for you: http://io9.com/5926587/what-may-be-the-worlds-first-cybernetic-hate-crime-unfolds-in-french-mcdonalds

Steve Mann, the "father of wearable computing," has been physically assaulted while visiting a McDonalds in Paris, France.

The Canadian university professor was at the restaurant with his family when three different McDonalds employees took exception to his "Digital Eye Glass" device and attempted to forcibly remove it from his head. Mann was then physically removed from the store by the employees, along with having his support documentation destroyed. ... (more at the link)

Excellent (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#45483549)

Can't wait to get a pair of these! [imageshack.us]

Yeah, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483559)

"bionic" as in the '70s TV show: perfectly integrated artificial eye with real-time retinal resolution and mentally controlled zooming and cross-hairs.

2013 reality: Atari Pong resolution, rudimentary and crude implants. Anyone else underwhelmed by the future we're living in?

Re:Yeah, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483663)

"bionic" as in the '70s TV show: perfectly integrated artificial eye with real-time retinal resolution and mentally controlled zooming and cross-hairs.

2013 reality: Atari Pong resolution, rudimentary and crude implants. Anyone else underwhelmed by the future we're living in?

Sure, if you take the "where the hell is my flying car?" approach. On the other hand, you could look at this as being something really, really useful for blind people.

Re:Yeah, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45485153)

Yes, it is really useful in the same sense that a whale oil lamp is useful if you're in the dark, but we should be allowed to ask "is this the best we can do?" Where the hell are the nanotechnological assemblers floating in our blood to repair cells at the atomic level? Even better, understanding how Nature's own assemblers went wrong in RP and how to reprogram them.

Instead the only technology that got better was storing and retrieving bits. Big whoop.

Re:Yeah, great (5, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#45484453)

I suffer from keratoconus in both my eyes. It's a degenerative disorder whereby my corneas gradually become thinner and bulge into a cone shape, causing hopelessly-distorted vision. Until just a few years ago, you could treat some of the symptoms, but the only actual cure was to wait until it got unbearably bad and then go in for a transplant of the entire cornea. I've been legally blind since about 2007.

But this year I was able to have a newly-developed, minimally-invasive surgery done that halted the progression and strengthened my corneas. Now, after the surgery and using special contact lenses, I'm able to have 20/20 vision for the first time since I was in middle school.

Underwhelmed? Fuck, man, I love the future.

Re:Yeah, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488391)

I love your story. I have RP. Still waiting. Still wanting to kill the ignorance of W Bush for delaying stem cell research beyond the point where I lose useful sight. A very good chance I will lose my sight, and regain it in my lifetime. One of the first humans with my condition to do so.

I love the future.

Bionic Eye? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483567)

No praxis points left. fml.

"Looks like Google Glass but is hardwired" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483579)

I never asked for this.

Bionic? They keep using this word... (2)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 10 months ago | (#45483681)

Wait... They rewrote the definition to fit that damn cheesy tvshow?! Since when?
It originally meant that you made technology that resemble the functioning, often even the appearance, of biology, like Dune's ornithopters vs a helicopter.

"the use of biological prototypes for the design of man-made synthetic systems. To put it in simpler language: to study basic principles in nature and emerge with applications of principles and processes to the needs of mankind." Dr. Jack E. Steele (original coining in ~'60)

what determines Slashdot article initial expansion (4, Interesting)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about 10 months ago | (#45483691)

(for example) "Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month" starts out closed/shuttered/compressed/whatever yet several even more esoteric Slashdot articles are initially presented with a full accompanying paragraph to read without an initial click to open them out. i'm just curious what determines this state(?) clearly it isn't number of comments.

I feel bad (1)

Thrill Science (2845693) | about 10 months ago | (#45483777)

I feel bad for the people who get this device and will be accused of being "glassholes."

With A Name Like Argus (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#45483975)

Now wondering eyes will be acceptable?

Syndicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483997)

What a glorious day it is my friends, step by step my dream of building a four-person cybernetically augmented hit squad is being realized!

Re:Syndicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45487945)

Ghost in the Shell and Shadowrun are just around the corner, perhaps in the next 20-100 years. The "future" has the potential to be really awesome, so long as "ethics" dont get in the way of progress.

If i want to install a chip in my head for what could effectively be telepathy (using the internet / wireless networks as a medium), thats my own damn business!

What do they see? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 10 months ago | (#45484643)

The end of the video mentions how the patient learns to interpret the "visual patterns" that they see. Is anything known about what they actually see? Are researchers essentially (pardon the pun) running blind when it comes to designing something they can't really interact with themselves? I'm guessing that they aren't actually seeing "stuff" like we do, or even really low resolution stuff.

Re:What do they see? (2)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 10 months ago | (#45485529)

We don't even know what you see now. We don't know if we see the same colors the same things etc. Remember we are taught that a certain color is red. So long as what you see is consistent we both have the same name for the same color but we don't know if they look the same to both of us. In the end so long as it works that is all that really matters.

Re:What do they see? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45488143)

actually, its pretty safe to say that, barring unusual circumstances or "defects" (like one of you being tetrachromatic or colorblind), what everyone sees is pretty much the same. Nevermind that emotional states, mood, state of mind, etc, can actually influence what you see because of how it gets interpreted/processed, thats more an "illusion" caused by the brain, and while fundamental to the human experience (since there's no way to not be affected), its still just an illusion.

This technology [newscientist.com] has revealed that, among all humans, there is some sort of "universal language" in how the brain encodes data (or at least a minimum baseline that is conserved through the species that can be used as a 'universal' 'starting point') -- at least for sensory (visual) data, that is.

Hopefully the "Universality" won't be too extensive though, since that opens up possibilities en masse for mind reading, mind control (as nudges, if not outright), "induced" psychosis (voices in your head, visual and auditory hallucinations, etc) and possibly even "possession" (hijacking somebody's body, or at least immobilizing them), unless the inter-personal differences are enough to require a period of "adjustment" or "learning" to sync a person and device.

Re:What do they see? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 10 months ago | (#45488953)

Every one's optic nerve is different. You have learned that if an object moves from nerve ASJQ25 to FJQL76 then it is moving to the left. You learned that during your infancy, in the first month(s) after your birth. My optic nerve is wired completely different.
If you think about it, what a baby learns before we can communicate with him/her is astounding. On average we have approximately 5M cones in each eye , times 3 because these send 3 signals gives 15M wires for color vision. We also have rods, approximately 100M in each eye, which only detect gray scale. That's 115 different signals in 1.2M neurons in each eye without any consciously known logic or mapping to it. A baby must probably learn which maps to which before (s)he can actually see.
But this also creates a problem for researchers. To install a bionic eye without any adaptation process for the user would mean we need to find out which neuron maps to which cone or rod and what the exact signal is that represents that signal. On top of that we need to get the correct neuron (which is almost impossible).

Those sunglasses (1)

LegoGuy23 (3440265) | about 10 months ago | (#45485147)

My vision is augmented. (required added characters required added characters required added characters)

phone app visual demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45485271)

There's a phone app that demonstrates what people will be able to see with the bionic eye (a friend who works for a company producing bionic eyes showed me). Each electrode produces a single dot, like a large pixel. 60 electrodes isn't going to show much more than light or dark, maybe you could tell where someone's head was if you were talking to them. But each electrode needs to be connected directly to the optic nerve, so higher resolution is very expensive.

Re:phone app visual demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45492861)

The only way this technology will be really useful (60 pixels is a pretty useless resolution, but its still a marvelous breakthrough) and really take off is when it can be integrated with neural chips. I'm too lazy to dig through google, but there's at least one group of scientists which has been growing nerves into computer chips, allowing for complete integration; but through this, the electrodes wouldnt have to be implanted directly into the optic nerve - a chip would be installed at the nerve, and then the "eye" part could be easily upgraded as new technology is available or, if the visual cortex has been "reassigned" due to lack of use, upgraded to higher resolutions as the brain "learns" how to process the sensory information.

I can see what will happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45485461)

Someone will mistake it for a camera recording them and try to rip it off the persons head like what happened to someone in Mcdonalds in France.

I want one (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 10 months ago | (#45486227)

but only if it makes me look like Batou.

The bleeding edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45487599)

Really, I'd hold out for the Argus III.

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