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Bionic Eye Could Restore Vision

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-have-the-technology dept.

Biotech 167

MattSparkes writes "A new bionic eye could restore vision to the profoundly blind. A prototype was tested on six patients and 'within a few weeks all could detect light, identify objects and even perceive motion again. For one patient, this was the first time he had seen anything in half a century.' The user wears a pair of glasses that contain a miniature camera and that wirelessly transmits video to a cellphone-sized computer in the wearer's pocket. This computer processes the image information and wirelessly transmits it to a tiny electronic receiver implanted in the wearer's head."

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167 comments

Implants for healthy people (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045834)

I imagine that in the not too distant future some perfectly healthy geek will have one of these implanted. I'd seriously consider it when resolution gets to about 24 bit SVGA ( It will have to have fast PGP on the wireless connection so that I control what I am seeing. I do not want my optical nerve spammed directly ).
I hope there is a 'turn-off-and-see-through' option that lets you use the original organic hardware when you want.

It works even better if it is implanted in an infant, so that the brain can adapt to it as it grows. This will, of course, be considered child abuse when it is first done. In a century or two it will be considered abuse NOT to have it done for your kid.

Re:Implants for healthy people (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045958)

I imagine that in the not too distant future some perfectly healthy geek will have one of these implanted.
Sure, but not instead of a perfectly good eyeball. Triclops, anyone?

Actually, I hope implants aren't the only way. Just give me the wearable version. Our brains are highly evolved to make use of our eyes, so I doubt there's much to be gained by cutting open healthy people for direct access to nerves.

Re:Implants for healthy people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046610)

I doubt there's much to be gained by cutting open healthy people for direct access to nerves.

Don't be silly. Along with some sort of input method this could integrate computers into our bodies. You could browse the Internet wherever you wanted, watch DVDs in HD wherever you want (cram the disc in your mouth as Fry says), and have ultra-high resolution hot porn when you are banging your ultra-high resolution SO (who needs a paper bag)! Heck, think of what this could do for deathmatches! And we all know that you would rather be playing WoW during a meeting that listening to some boring presentation about quality assurance methods, right?

Implant me now!

Re:Implants for healthy people (4, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045980)

Mods are on crack - this is actual interesting discussion.

There's too much we don't know aobut infant vision to mess with the brains early development - although who knows what stuff like television is already doing to us. However, I think it would be better to have these for overlays and such - where it mixes both the incoming light and anything being fed in from the connection. SVGA seems a little low resolution wise - don't forget this is your whole field of vision. You'd want probably 4-5 times that at least to resolve floating screens and such in front of you.

Don't forget to add those aural implants for Dolby 600 channel sound!

Re:Implants for healthy people (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046782)

There's too much we don't know aobut infant vision to mess with the brains early development

An interesting tidbit on this topic: Scientists have done experiments in cats where they've blocked all incoming light to the cat's eyes during early kittenhood. A portion of the visual cortex does not organize properly without this input, causing the cats to have permanent non-functional vision. A similar effect is seen in human children who are born with cataracts or develop them very shortly after birth.

(Hubel and Wiesel received part of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for this work done through the 1960s and 70s.)

More experiments on kittens (4, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046900)

Another kitten experiment involved raising them in environments with either only horizontal or only vertical lines. As adults, they simply could not see objects of the 'wrong' orientation. A cat who had been raised in a horizontal-only world could hop up on the seat of a chair, but would bump into the legs if he tried to walk under it.

Re:More experiments on kittens (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047054)

A cat who had been raised in a horizontal-only world could hop up on the seat of a chair, but would bump into the legs if he tried to walk under it.


      Cool! Next time I have kittens I know what I'm going to do....(evil laugh) heeeere kitty kitty kitty

Re:Implants for healthy people (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047276)

SVGA seems a little low resolution wise - don't forget this is your whole field of vision. You'd want probably 4-5 times that at least to resolve floating screens and such in front of you.

IANAB, but as I recall, our vision is already not quite as great as it appears to be at first glance (ha ha). Our eyes essentially experience "page faults", where something we want to see isn't available because we have poor "resolution" in everywhere except a small cone around the center of our field of view. There is also a spot directly in the center of this cone that is lower resolution. Our brains compensate for these deficiencies by quickly moving our eyes around to take in a larger area, then making composite image.

The same type of thing takes place when watching animation. The brain builds missing information from previous and next frames of reference.

Again, I'm no expert, but I imagine that at least some of the technological problems may very well be overcome by the brain's compensation abilities, especially if the devices were implanted as early as possible after birth.

Personally, I think it would be pretty neat to have uber-night vision as well as the ability to switch to other spectrums like ultraviolet or x-rays (ala Geordi's VISOR).

Re:Implants for healthy people (1)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047372)

I'd settled for having my vision augmented for UV, IR, and other spectra normally not visible. Particularly in low light conditions. Besides, it would be cool to never have to take my sunglasses off again.

2 cents,

QueenB.

Hey--I worked on this for my dissertation (-1, Troll)

Einstein45 (1062040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046008)

Hey--I worked on this as my dissertation: "Multiple Unit Artificial Retina Chipset to Aid the Visually
Impaired and Enhanced CMOS Phototransistors"

Multiple-Unit Artificial Retina Chipset

Dr. Elliot McGucken

Physics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
NC State University

A computer-chip based device that can provide limited-resolution vision
for people with retinal-based blindness. Beneficiaries would be 10,000,000
people worldwide suffering from forms of blindness including retinal
pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

MERRILL LYNCH "INNOVATION GRANTS" AWARDED TO FIVE DOCTORAL STUDENTS

DOCTORAL RESEARCH YIELDS GROUNDBREAKING PROPOSALS RANGING FROM NEW
COMPUTER CHIPS TO A MALE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE

NEW YORK, Sept.16 -- The Merrill Lynch Forum today announced the first
winners of the Innovation Grants Competition -- its global competition
challenging doctoral students to craft commercial applications of their
dissertation research. The winners were recognized at an awards dinner at
Merrill Lynch headquarters last night (Sept. 15), hosted by Merrill Lynch
Chairman and CEO David H. Komansky.

Dr. Jan Mark Noworolski, from the University of California at Berkeley,
received the top prize in the competition for creating a new type of power
converter, a key element in virtually all electronic devices. This
technology would greatly reduce the size, parts count and weight of power
supplies for the increasingly pervasive array of portable electronic
products such as cell phones and laptop computers, as well as enabling the
design of new mobile electronic products. "Power management is one of the
major constraints in personal electronics," he said. "An integrated design
using this technology could offer a 10-fold improvement in device
performance."

A total of 213 proposals from 16 countries were submitted to the
competition, which was open to new Ph.D. recipients in the sciences,
liberal arts, and engineering disciplines. Entries were judged by a
distinguished panel of nine entrepreneurs, venture capitalists,
journalists, and innovators and were considered without knowledge of the
applicants' identity or academic affiliation.

"Academic research is a significant and often untapped source of
intellectual capital in our society, and a tremendous economic resource,"
said Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO David H. Komansky. "The winning
proposals from this competition are all excellent examples of how new
knowledge can be transformed into new value simply by encouraging
researchers to look at their research from a different perspective. We
hope that these Innovation Grants will help foster a closer interaction
between world-class science and the world of commerce," Mr. Komansky
added.

The judging panel consisted of:

John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation, and Director, Xerox
Palo Alto Research Center Edgar W. K. Cheng, former Chairman, The Stock
Exchange of Hong Kong John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield &
Byers Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings, Inc. Peter C. Goldmark,
Chairman and Chief Executive, The International Herald Tribune William
Haseltine, Chairman & CEO, Human Genome Sciences, Inc. John Markoff,
Technology Correspondent, The New York Times Edward McKinley, President,
E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Company International, Ltd. Arati Prabhakar, former
Chief Technology Officer, Raychem Corporation In evaluating the
applications, the judges sought to identify proposals with the potential
to affect real change in industries and in the way people live their
lives. "The Innovation Grants Competition is a terrific idea," said judge
John Doerr, of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "I
was impressed with many of the proposals and thought that several of the
ideas would merit a venture-capital follow-up."

The five winning entries:

First Place, $50,000 -- Single-Chip Power Converter. Dr. Jan Mark
Noworolski, University of California at Berkeley. A unique, one-chip power
converter that uses electromechanical energy instead of inductive energy
storage. This technology could dramatically reduce the size and complexity
of portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, cellular phones,
and pagers.

Second Place, $20,000 -- Membrane Chips. Dr. Jay T. Groves, Stanford
University. A technology that enables biological membranes to be
incorporated into computer chips. These chips could be used by the medical
diagnostic industry, particularly for AIDS research, and leukemia.

Second Place, $20,000 -- Multiple-Unit Artificial Retina Chipset (MARC).
Dr. Elliot McGucken, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/NC State
University. A computer-chip based device that can provide
limited-resolution vision for people with retinal-based blindness. This
device could benefit the more than 10,000,000 people worldwide suffering
from blindness originating from various causes.

Third Place, $10,000 -- Male Oral Contraceptive. Dr. Bruce Lahn, Whitehead
Institute of Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This research led to the development of an understanding of the role of
the gene CDY in producing an essential enzyme for sperm production. This
research could produce a male oral contraceptive that would chemically
inhibit the production of the sperm-producing enzyme.

Third Place, $10,000 -- Artificially Engineered Quantum Solid Materials.
Dr. Alexander Balandin, University of Notre Dame. This study of new
materials based on quantum confinement properties suggests opportunities
for the engineering of a new generation of electronic devices. The most
significant market application would be the improvement of devices such as
semiconductor lasers, CD players, digital cameras, and optical drives.

Additional grants of $5,000 were awarded to each of the winners'
universities and discretionary grants of $3,000 each were awarded to five
additional proposals.

The 1998 Innovation Grants Competition was directed by Michael Schrage, a
Research Associate at the MIT Media Lab, and a leading expert on issues
surrounding innovation and new business development. "What fuels the 'new
economy' of the information age is ideas," said Schrage. "This competition
takes great ideas that might otherwise have languished for years in
academia and brings them to the attention of people who can translate them
into transformative technologies. Anyone looking at these proposals can
see that they contain truly exciting possibilities."

The competition was open to doctoral students who successfully defended
their dissertations between January 1, 1996, and July 1, 1998. Entrants
were required to submit a 3,000-word explanation of how their dissertation
topic could be translated into a commercial product or service. The
description had to include: a summary of the dissertation, a description
of the most significant commercial idea embodied in it, an analysis of the
potential market for the product or service, and a discussion of technical
steps necessary to bring the innovation to market.

The Merrill Lynch Forum is a "virtual" think tank established by the
global financial services company to bring together leading experts to
consider and explore issues of worldwide importance in the areas of
technology, economics, and international relations.

Those interested in additional information, should visit the Competition's
web site, http://www.ml.com/innovation [ml.com], or call 1-888-33Forum. Additional
information is also available by sending e-mail to:InnovationGrants@ml.com

BIOGRAPHIES

DR. ELLIOT MCGUCKEN

Dr. Elliot McGucken was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and he has studied
and taught physics ever since he left Akron to attend Princeton University
as an undergraduate. He recently received his Ph.D. in physics from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1998), where his research on
the Multiple Unit Artificial Retina Chipset To Aid The Visually Impaired
often led him down the road to North Carolina State University. He is
currently continuing his involvement with the retinal prosthesis's
prototype development at NCSU, while also teaching physics and astronomy
as an assistant professor of physics at the neighboring Elon College.

His favorite hobbies are celestial navigation, sailing and windsurfing,
reading the classics, and writing poetry. Dr. McGucken received the Tanner
Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching while at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also received an honorary
membership in the the American Society of Physics Teachers.

Multiple Unit Artificial Retina Chipset (MARC) to Aid the Visually
Impaired By Elliot McGucken

1. Summary of the dissertation Engineering progress relating to the
development of the multiple-unit artificial retina chipset (MARC)
prosthesis to benefit the visually impaired is presented in my
dissertation, "Multiple Unit Artificial Retina Chipset to Aid the Visually
Impaired and Enhanced CMOS Phototransistors." The design, fabrication, and
testing of the first generation MARC VLSI chips are reported on. A
synthesis of the engineering, biological, medical, and physical research
is offered within the presentation of methods and means for the overall
design engineering, powering, bonding, packaging, and hermetic sealing of
the MARC retinal prosthesis. The retinal prosthesis is based on the
fundamental concept of replacing photoreceptor function with an electronic
device1, which was initiated by2 and has been extensively developed3,4 by
MARC team-members Dr. Humayun et al. The use of an inductive link for
power and telemetric communications is explored, and an experimental study
of RF coil configurations, showing their feasibility for this retinal
implant, is offered. An enhanced CMOS phototransistor with a holed emitter
(HEP), used in the first generation MARC, is presented, along with a
numerical model which also predicts its enhanced quantum efficiency. Due
to the small size of the intraocular cavity, the extreme delicacy of the
retina, and the fact that the eye is mobile, an artificial retinal implant
poses difficult engineering challenges. Over the past several years all of
these factors and contrasts have been taken into consideration in the
engineering research of an implantable retinal device. Initial steps3
towards fabricating a commercially available, implantable MARC device have
been taken by our team of engineers, physicists, and doctors.

2. Description of the most significant commercial aspect

A multiple-unit artificial retina chipset (MARC) would create a new
marketplace by offering a cure for forms of blindness including retinal
pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which afflict
over 10,000,000 people worldwide. Clinical studies4 have shown that
controlled electrical signals applied to a small area of a dysfunctional
retina with a microelectrode can be used to initiate a local neural
response in the remaining retinal cells. The neural response, or
phosphene, is perceived by otherwise completely blind patients as a small
spot of light, about the size of a match-head held out at arm's length.
When multiple electrodes are activated in a two-dimensional electrode
array, an image may be stimulated upon the retina. The MARC system
consists of an extraocular means for acquiring and processing visual
information, a means for power and signal transceiving via RF telemetry,
and a multiple-until artificial retina chipset. The stimulating electrode
array is mounted on the retina with metal-alloy retinal tacks while the
power and signal transceiver is mounted in close proximity to the cornea.
An external miniature low-power CMOS camera worn in an eyeglass frame
captures an image and transfers the visual information and power to the
intraocular components via RF telemetry. The intraocular prosthesis will
decode the signal and electrically stimulate the retinal neurons through
the electrodes in a manner that corresponds to the original image
perceived by the CMOS Camera.

3. Description of the market for the proposed product and the competition

The multiple-unit artificial retina chipset (MARC) is designed to provide
useful vision to over 10,000,000 people blind because of photoreceptor
loss due to partial retinal degeneration from diseases such as Age Related
Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). People who are
completely blind will initially gain the ability to discern shapes and
pictures, and even to read, with limited resolutions of 15x15 pixels.
Future MARC generations will provide greater resolutions, and the device
will chart a brand new marketplace a s a prosthetic device to aid the
visually impaired.

3.1 Unique value derived by the customer

Before embarking on the MARC chip design, it was necessary to assess how
useful a limited-resolution view would b to the blind. Simple visual
feasibility experiments have been conducted at NCSU so as to determine how
well sight could be restored with a 15x15 array of pixels, each of which
would be capable of four-bit stimulation, or sixteen gray levels. A
picture from a video camera was projected onto a television screen at the
low resolution of 15x15 pixels. When subjects who wore glasses removed
their glasses, or when those with good sight intentionally blurred their
vision, the natural spatial-temporal processing of the brain allowed them
to actually distinguish features and recognize people. When the subject
focused on the screen, it appeared as a 15x15 array of gray blocks, but
when the subject "trained" themselves to unfocus their vision, they were
able to "learn" to see definitive edges and details such as beard, teeth,
and opened or closed eyes. These results are reminiscent of the
experiences with the artificial cochlear implant. When the artificial
cochlear was originally being designed, it was believed that over 2,400
electrodes would be needed to stimulate the nerves in a manner that would
be conducive to hearing. Today, however, within a few weeks of receiving
an implant, a patient can understand phone conversations with an
artificial cochlear that has only six electrodes. One of the advantages of
this project is that the MARC device will be interfaced with the world's
greatest computer - the brain. The MARC won't be duplicating the exact
functioning of the retina, but rather the device will be an entity that
the brain will "learn" to use. A good analogy to think of is that in
attempting flight, the Wright brothers did not attempt to imitate nature
by building a plane which flapped its wings, but rather they did it in a
way that had not yet appeared in the natural world. Thus we believe that a
15x15 pixel array will facilitate a level of sight which will be of
significant value to the patient. And after the initial prototype is
developed, there will be few barriers to stepping up the resolution.

3.2 Prior art, competition, and MARC advantages

The current design of the MARC clears several hurdles that exist is prior
inventions and research. Much of the prior art has relied upon structures
so complicated or biologically intrusive as to make their implementation
impractical, and thus, to date, an operating implantable artificial retina
has not been achieved. Several international teams are actively pursuing a
prosthetic device, including formidable competitors from MIT, a German
team of over 20 scientists and engineers who have received over
$14,000,000 for the German government and a team from Japan who have
recently received government funding. To date, members of the MARC team
Dr. Humayun et al. have been the only ones to electrically stimulate1,2,4
controlled visual percepts human patients. Chapter 2 of my dissertation
provides a treatment of the papers, patents, and prior art embodied by the
various teams' progress, but due to space limitations, only the advantages
of the MARC are presented here.

MARC Component Size: The novel multiple-until intraocular transceiver
processing and electrode array-processing visual prosthesis allows for
larger processing chips (6x6 mm), and thus more complex circuitry. Also,
by splitting the chips up into smaller components, and utilizing
techniques such as solder bumping to connect the chips with kapton
substrates, we shall keep the sizes to a minimum.

MARC Heat Dissipation: The power transfer and rectification, primary
sources of heat generation, occur near the corneal surface, or at least
remotely from the retina, rather than in close proximity to the more
delicate retina.

MARC Powering: The novel multiple-until intraocular transceiver-processing
and electrode array-processing visual prosthesis provides a more direct
means for power and signal transfer, as the transceiver microprocessing
unit is placed in close proximity to the cornea, making it more accessible
to electromagnetic radiation in either the visible wavelength range or
radio waves. Solar powering and especially RF powering are made more
feasible.

MARC Diagnostic Capability: The transceiver unit is positioned close to
the cornea, and thus it can send and receive radio waves, granting it the
capability of being programmed to perform different functions as well as
giving diagnostic feedback to an external control system. Diagnostic
feedback would be much more difficult with the solar powering.

MARC Physiological Functionality: Our device was designed in conformance
with the physiological data gained during tests on blind patients. We are
the only group who has yet created a visual percept (with electrical
stimulation) in a patient. Therefore, we have the unique advantage of
designing around parameters which are guaranteed to work.

Reduction of Stress Upon The Retina: Our device would reduce the stress
upon the retina, as it would only necessitate the mounting of the
electrode array upon the delicate surface, while the signal processing and
power transfer could be performed off the retina. Also, buoyancy could be
added to the electrode array, to give it the same average density as the
surrounding fluid. Approximately 10,000,000 people worldwide are severely
visually handicapped due to photoreceptor degeneration5 experienced in
end-stage age-related macular retinal degeneration and retinitis
pigmentosa. In addition to benefiting the visually impaired, restoring
vision to a large subset of blind patients promises to have a positive
impact on government spending.

4. Description of the five most important technical steps

The honing and development of several aspects of the MARC system must yet
be fully realized so as to optimize the final device's functionality and
performance. Concurrent engineering tasks which are both touched upon and
elaborated in chapters of my dissertation include the following:

The design, fabrication, and testing of the signal-processing and
stimulus-driving MARC2, MARC3 and MARC46 VLSI chips and the
video-processing chip. These are VLSI chips endowed with microprocessing
circuitry to encode and decode visual information, and drive the
stimulating electrodes.

The enhancement of the CMOS photodetectors and the Holed Emitter
Phototransistor. These are the fundamental building blocks of silicon
photosensors.

The final designs and optimization of the kapton/polyimide or silicon
stimulating electrode array. Kapton polyimide flexible polymer which would
allow for the fabrication of an electrode array which could conform to the
curvature of the retinal surface. So far it has proven to be
biocompatible.

The design and refinement of the RF telemetry system and video protocol.
RF Telemetry is utilized to transmit both power and signal without the
presence of physical wires. Thus the device is entirely self-contained
within the eye.

The bonding, packaging, and hermetic sealing of the CMOS signal-processing
chips with the kapton electrode array. The hermetic packaging of a chronic
device with over 100 electrical feedthroughs is a challenge. The
integration of microelectronics with damaged or degenerated biological
systems in order to provide some of the lost function is a rapidly
emerging field, and we have been and will continue to share technologies
with other groups also working on biological prosthesises.

5. Description of how best to test prototypes

Extensive laboratory and clinical testing will be conducted before
functioning MARC is realized. The doctors on our team are conducting the
biocompatability and threshold-stimulation experiments within both humans
and animals, while the engineers at NCSU-ECE are concentrating on the
testing of the functionality of the computer chips, and the performance of
the RF telemetry transfer of power and signal. Hermeticity may be tested
by submerging device in saline baths for extended periods.

In order to test MARC1, which was endowed with HEP photosensors, the image
of a while paper E mounted on black paper was focused onto the MARC chip.
An adjustable incandescent light was shone onto both black and white
paper, and the difference in reflected power was measured, and found to be
around a factor of ten. This order of magnitude difference is easily
recognized by Mead's logarithmic photodetector circuit. Even though the
image of E was focused down to about 20% of its original size, so as to
fit upon the chip, the difference between the intensities of the
neighboring light and dark areas remained the same, as they were both
multiplied by the same factor.

All the pixels which were subject to the light of the E's image fired,
while those beyond the border remained off. The output from the "on"
pixels, which resulted in 250 mA, 2ms pulses at a 50 Hz clock rate, were
sufficient for retinal stimulation. The photosensing and
current-generating partition of the artificial retina chip has been
tested, and it ahs been demonstrated to work. These results suggest that
the chip would facilitate the perception of outlines where sharp contrast
existed, such as for windows or illuminated text. The Doctors have
demonstrated that the 5x5 electrode array functions, and the next step
towards an artificial retinal prosthesis is to connect the dual unit
visual prosthesis to the 5x5 electrode array, and implant the dual unit
device in an animal, so as to test biocompatibility.

6. Description of the limitations and challenges in the MARC project

The MARC project spreads itself across a diverse array of scientific,
engineering, and medical disciplines. Perhaps one of the greatest
challenges associated with this project is the interdisciplinary nature of
the device's design, which requires the devotion from members of a large,
unified team from a wide array of disciplines and distant institutions.
One of the goals of my dissertation was to aid the project by providing an
overview or synthesis of the wide-ranging research, within the
presentation of the complete system engineering of the MARC implantable
prosthesis. The inter-disciplinary challenge involves the fabrication of
the processing chips, the acquisition and transmission of visual data in a
way that is meaningful to the device and to the patient, a wireless power
source, and a form of biocompatible, hermetically-sealed packaging. The
MARC designs presented throughout my dissertation attempt to integrate the
multifaceted technologies in a final device that will be beneficial to a
visually-impaired patient.

As we approach a functioning MARC prosthesis, the design will continue to
evolve, as the refinement of any one parameter affects all the rest. For
instance, should the main intraocular chip be subdivided into smaller
individually-sealed chips so as to reduce the risk of realizing a complete
system failure if one chip should malfunction, the basic chip design, as
well as the hermetic packaging, will have to be altered. An alteration in
the hermetic packaging will affect where the chip may be mounted. A
different chip design will require a different power source and thus
telemetry configuration. And a different telemetry configuration may alter
the coil designs, which would affect the size of the external battery.
Thus an alteration in any one aspect of the design resounds throughout the
entire system. The purpose of this dissertation was to offer an overview
of all the parameters affecting the design of the MARC, elaborate on all
the engineering progress that has been made, anticipate design and
engineering hurdles, and suggest approaches for future research.

The photosensing/current-generating component of the artificial retina
chip has been tested, and it has been demonstrated to work. Investigations
into the feasibility of RF powering have so far been positive. The
electrode design is being honed, and the Doctors have demonstrated that a
5x5 electrode array can stimulate simple pictures upon a patient's retina.
The doctors are currently investigating ways of stimulating the retina
with lower currents, which will have a positive impact on the design of
the chip and RF powering system.

The next step towards an artificial retinal prosthesis will be to develop
the second and third generation MARCs which will be capable of driving a
15x15 electrode array and 25x25 electrode arrays, and testing the devices
for short periods within a human. The implications of this research may
extend beyond this immediate project, as contributions to the overall
field of implantable prosthetic devices and hermetic packaging. The
observations and clinical and engineering experiments performed should
lend insight into the actual functioning of the human retina. The feedback
gained by these studies should provide a vehicle for further understanding
of the retinal/vision/perception process.

In addition, a CMOS phototransistor which exhibits an enhanced quantum
efficiency was also developed, and a numerical model was presented which
also predicts its enhanced efficiency. The enhanced performance is
accounted for via the physics of transistor operation. The CMOS
phototransistor may find an application in the emerging field of CMOS
photodetectors, wherein researchers are attempting to create low-powered
inexpensive cameras.

References: 1 E.D. Juan, Jr. Mark S. Humayun, Howard D. Phillips; "Retinal
Microstimulation," US Patent #5109844, 1993

2 M. Humayun, "Is Surface Electrical Stimulation of the Retina a Feasible
Approach Towards The Development of a Visual Prosthesis?" Ph.D.
Dissertation UNCCH BME 1994

3 W. Liu, E. McGucken, K. Vichiechom, M. Clements, E. De Juan, and M.
Humayun, "Dual Unit Retinal Prosthesis," IEEE EMBS97

4 M.S. Humayun, E.D. Juan Jr, G. Dagnelie, R.J. Greenberg, R.H. Propst and
H. Phillips, "Visual Preception Elicited by Electrical Stimulation of
Retina in Blind Humans by Electrical Stimulation of Retina in Blind
Humans," Arch. Ophthalmol, pp. 40-46, vol. 114, Jan. 1996.

5 Research to Prevent Blindness, Progress Report 1993.

6 K. Vichiechom, M. Clemments, E. McGucken, C. Demarco, C. Hughes, W. Liu,
MARC2 and MARC3 (Retina2 and Retina3), Technical Report, February, 1998

Re:Implants for healthy people (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046072)

All I want is a grid of PV cells with appropriate filtering circuitry etc installed directly into my retina, and a variable (deformable) lens installed to replace my cornea, with maybe another one so that I can have zoom without having things move (much) inside my eye. The former can provide things like IR vision, and if it can transmit a very short distance, recording, albeit only in greyscale without having redundant elements and color-pass filters. All I care about is IR. And the zoom! That would be so amazingly useful. Telescope, microscope... The only challenge there is controlling saccades so that you can still get a useful image, maybe by filtering them down to a lesser movement.

Re:Implants for healthy people (2, Insightful)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046408)

One of the real challenges (I would imagine) such as this chip implant on the retina is keeping it in place. Retina surgery alone isn't guaranteed. The fluid pushing against that lining can vary with age or even something like cabin pressure from an airplane ride. The synergy between medicine and engineering here really is a marvel example of our body's design and function. It's a testament to both. Personally, I prefer non evasive enhancements for what you mention; like a disposable super contact lens.

Re:Implants for healthy people (5, Insightful)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046274)

This must be stopped until HDCP is implemented for the visual cortex. Otherwise people will be able to see protected content without DRM! Of course once reliable HDCP is implemented it should then be mandatory, plugging the analog hole once and for all!

Re:Implants for healthy people (4, Interesting)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046392)

The possibilities here are very intriguing. The study that the article mentioned used a pair of glasses with a camera. But there's no reason why those glasses/cameras would need to be on your face. You could literally set up eyes in the back of your head, a security camera monitored by yourself, or expand your field of vision to be much larger. Also, you could set up a virtual reality sim just by playing back a recorded stream of visual data into your implant.

Of course, the possibilities for mischief with such an implant are also endless. These things would be in high demand for poker games and high school locker rooms and about a billion other things that criminals and perverts will think up.

Steve Mann (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046634)

Steve Mann [wikipedia.org] wrote a textbook [wearcam.org] worth reading by anyone truly interested in the subject.

Re:Implants for healthy people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046806)

I didn't think about the high school locker room situation, but I see you quickly did...

Re:Implants for healthy people (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046882)

It works even better if it is implanted in an infant, so that the brain can adapt to it as it grows. This will, of course, be considered child abuse when it is first done. In a century or two it will be considered abuse NOT to have it done for your kid.

That makes sense! I'd even go further and say than in a century or to it'd be abuse NOT to directly throw out your newborn in the trash and replace it with a robot toy!

Let's keep the discussion real. I also enjoy Ghost in the Shell series, it's very cool and futuristic, but even in that anime people didn't force implants on their infants unless they were really sick and needed it to live normally (or at all).

Re:Implants for healthy people (1)

charlieman (972526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047044)

I imagine that in the not too distant future some perfectly healthy geek will have one of these implanted
Yeah, specially if they use the see thought filter [kaya-optics.com].

Re: implant considered child abuse (1)

the_REAL_sam (670858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047484)

This will, of course, be considered child abuse when it is first done. In a century or two it will be considered abuse NOT to have it done for your kid.


I doubt both claims, and I think it's a grave mistake, building pessimism into your expectations of people.

If a blind child can see again, nobody's likely to claim it was child abuse that led there. (unless the chip posed some health risk, but they must have tested in on animals first, right?)

On the other hand, if sony develops a new graphics chip in 20 years and it's all the rave, there won't be any reason to blame the people who opt for good old fashioned God-given human-sense-based reality.

As for two HUNDRED years from now... well, I don't presume to know what will be happening so far into the future.

It's amazing stuff, though. It reminds me of System Shock I. I guess they've finally for-real bridged the gap between man and machine.

Interesting (4, Funny)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045840)

So the image is recieved wirelesly into the brain basically. I wonder if they get any interference.. or can they maybe pick up TV channels?... that would be a bonus.

Re:Interesting (3, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045938)

I thought more about the shock from some prankster 'toothing goatse images around to unsuspecting phones.

Bonus? More like curse. (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046078)

can they maybe pick up TV channels?... that would be a bonus.

Not when the MPAA finds out about it. Then they'll either force you to watch commercials or else send you C&D letters to make you stop seeing. Remember, bionic eyes clearly induce people to use them for watching copyright-violated material.

Canadians, who are a little smarter, will just assume that everyone's bionic eyes are used to watch infringing material and will charge a tax on bionic eye hardware and pay the industry a cut.

If we're lucky, maybe DVD Jon will still be around to save us from FairWatch and WatchForSure.

Re:Bonus? More like curse. (1)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046142)

wow. you really tried to throw in every joke you could think of, huh? instead of three really lame jokes, you should have concentrated on a single half-way decent one.

Nothing to see here (-1, Offtopic)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045848)

Move along.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18045908)

It's about an eye. How is there nothing to see?

Re:Nothing to *see* here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18047482)

Do the mods need a bionic eye to see the irony in the parent's post? I thought it was slightly clever.

One technical problem to solve (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18045888)

The current prototype emits a disturbing strange sound whenever the bionic eye is activated.

Extra features. (1)

zdc (1064870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045906)

I'd personally opt for a HUD displaying the same stats found on the SIMS. This way, I know just what I need to be happy and successful.

mnb Re:Extra features. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046290)

I'd personally opt for a HUD displaying the same stats found on the SIMS. This way, I know just what I need to be happy and successful.

I don't want to be a Nazi, but damn

I'd personally opt for a HUD displaying the same stats found on "The Sims".

would have been much easier to parse.

I am looking forward to this (3, Insightful)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045912)

Literally, this will definately benefit my eye condition. I hope that this research turns out to be helpful. From what I understand so far though, it is just prolonging the inevitable... but hey, that's better than nothing.

In Related News... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045920)

More women are upgrading to the bionic hand that will reach out and smack any perverts with a bionic eye. The uPrevert bionic hand will be a popular item for the holiday season.

Review (3, Funny)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045942)

+3 For the technology +2 For it actually working (would like to see more results data from a reputable source) +2 For bridging the gap between biological and technological distinctiveness (Resistance is futile) -2 For it being Wireless (prone to interference and hacking to the Nth degree, assuming this prototype has no security subsystems installed)

Re:Review (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046000)

Bummer if somebody hacks your vision. Can't see anything because you're too busy closing pop-ups.

On a more serious note:
It may sound a little conspiratorial, but I for one don't want everything I'm looking at to be transmitted wirelessly. Add some GPS and "they" will not only know exactly where you are, but they'll see exactly what you're doing.

On the "wireless" point... (1)

Mursk (928595) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046062)

True, but the alternative would be to have a cable protruding from the user's head. If my choices were a) being totally blind; b) being able to see (to some degree) but having to worry about my vision being possibly interfered with; or c) being able to see (to some degree) but having to worry about getting an infection of or near my brain... I would probably pick b).

Re:On the "wireless" point... (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046302)

True, but the alternative would be to have a cable protruding from the user's head

If the eye is already defunct, why not remove the eye and implant the camera? It could probably be incorperated into an artifical eye with out much problem. Circuits and cameras are already tiny and the power requirements can't be very high. (nerves deal in microvolts?) A wearable inductive recharger and you are good to go. Reattach the muscle and you could even look around. I can understand the external camera for the early R&D, but I hope the final product is fully implanted.

Re:On the "wireless" point... (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046846)

If the eye is already defunct, why not remove the eye and implant the camera? It could probably be incorperated into an artifical eye with out much problem. Circuits and cameras are already tiny and the power requirements can't be very high. (nerves deal in microvolts?) A wearable inductive recharger and you are good to go. Reattach the muscle and you could even look around. I can understand the external camera for the early R&D, but I hope the final product is fully implanted.

I imagine an external camera would be much easier to clean/upgrade. Also, it's possible that things like focusing the camera might generate some noise, which might be rather annoying if the camera were actually integrated with your skull.

Re:Review (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046118)

-2 For it being Wireless (prone to interference and hacking to the Nth degree, assuming this prototype has no security subsystems installed)

It has to be wireless for now, because having a port embedded in the skin isn't currently practical. However "they" have discovered that deer's antlers get tied into the skin because they have a highly convoluted surface, with a lot of area, and for some reason the skin is able to attach to this. This is the technology we need to perfect to have ports in the skin.

In the ideal situation you would have some sort of nonchemical energy storage mechanism embedded inside of you, like perhaps a pair of counterrotating flywheels or something (but imagine what happens if the bearings fail) and you'd charge your system through the port. In the real world, though, until we develop the universal nanotech assembler, I think we'll have to power the system through the port, and feed data to it.

I want this technology now for two purposes. I want an audio jack for a stereo headset and mono mic functionality, and I want studs for mounting sunglasses that don't have to go around my head. I get headaches when I wear glasses, or when I wear headphones, and it hurts my ears something fierce to have those in-ear buds in them for too long, although I admit I haven't tried the custom-molded kind. However, I also find it horribly disorienting to have anything over my ears, especially just one ear, it's kind of like when you're walking next to the sound-deadening wall in the movie theater. That seems to disorient everyone a little bit, but it makes me nauseous.

Re:Review (1)

maryjane gonjasoft (925817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046478)

you wouldn't have to power up, i would think. the body creates electricity, if they master the bionic eye, who is to say they can't turn you into a damn big d-cell?

Re:Review (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047006)

who is to say they can't turn you into a damn big d-cell?


      Whoa, so the matrix is real? ;)

Re:Review (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046598)

Actually, there's some pretty active development on biologically-safe miniature fuel cells which generate electricity from the energy stored in your blood sugar. Not only could you power all those implants, but you could lose weight by using them a lot!

Re:Review (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047098)

and I want studs for mounting sunglasses that don't have to go around my head.

You could get that right now if you wanted. Haven't you seen the scalp implants that let people mount metal spikes on their heads? Sort of a stainless-steel mohawk?

IMO it's not worth the trouble though. If the stud gets snagged on something when you're falling or moving fast for some other reason, you're going to do some serious damage to yourself.

Re:Review (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047118)

In the ideal situation you would have some sort of nonchemical energy storage mechanism embedded inside of you, like perhaps a pair of counterrotating flywheels or something (but imagine what happens if the bearings fail) and you'd charge your system through the port.

I'd prefer a fuel cell that runs off of the glucose and oxygen already present in the bloodstream...
=Smidge=

Re:Review (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047222)

I believe Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" had a guy whose vision had been hacked by nanorobots to deliver a small add banner at the periphery of his vision.

I think, given the choice, wireless is OK for this stage. Wireless invaders will only attack if they're within signal range and they have the motivation. Microorganisms will invade regardless. Any type of surgery or major laceration puts you at risk for infection, and if you have wires running into your head then you have a canal for germs to get to your central nervous system, where you have very little in the way of an immune system. Plus, you have to take sponge baths all the time.

The ultimate implementation for a bionic eye wouldn't require any wireless, because it would be self-contained in your head. But going whole hog like that when we're still working on transmitting information directly to the brain is overly-ambitious. I imagine once that technology reaches maturity you'll start to see people moving towards a self-contained 'eye'.

One step closer (1, Funny)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045998)

We're now one step closer to building a 1970's version of Lee Majors!

Now if only the eye could make the cool bionic sound.

saw something like this on sciam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046018)

i believe i saw this, or something very like it, on an episode [pbs.org] of scientific american frontiers almost a year ago . it's even possible to watch that portion of the episode online [pbs.org], provided you're willing to use either real or windows media.

Re:saw something like this on sciam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046620)

The Silicon Retina, Carver Mead and Misha Mahowald, Scientific American, 1991.

(Unfortunately, is seems Scientific American do not archive anything before 2001 on their site.)

Nu Scientist is a fricking linkspamming rag, note how the url in the summary includes the submitters name as a variable? No free click from me buddy.

Nu Scientist is a bunch of populist science "lite". They have a lot of nerve to even use the word Scientist in their name.

Here's a hint:
http://www.google.ca/search?q=New+Scientist+site%3 Aslashdot.org [google.ca] (7,180 occurrences)

Mr. La Forge (1)

IronmanTriathlete (1059036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046208)

I don't know about having this thing fixed on my face for the sole purpose of getting super-human vision. Mr. La Forge wore a simular for years, and I don't remember him getting any action. As a matter of fact, he later upgraded to have somewhat normal-looking eyes.

Re:Mr. La Forge (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046284)

Read the summary again. The camera is small enough to fit on a pair of glasses... presumably it'll be made to blend in as much as possible.

Re:Mr. La Forge (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046394)

That's because the federation is xenophobic.

I am sure you can get some even if you wore La Forge Goggles.

not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046230)

I first heard about this over ten years ago, i've since been dreaming of the day when i can replace my inferior biological eye with a miniature camera that allows me to see in infra red, ultra violot, low light, maybe even some sort of Superman sub-clothes vision.

It looks like they are a bit closer now, so it might just happen in my lifespan.

Ads via wireless? (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046238)

Hmm...wireless transmission of sight huh? Could ads and spam get transmitted that way?

Reminds me of a Neal Stephenson book, where some tiny, minor character killed himself since he got infected with some ad that played in his vision 24/7. It might have been about Korean roach motel, but it's been too long since I've read it.

Another approach (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046268)

http://www.seeingwithsound.com/ [seeingwithsound.com]

No surgery and apparently it works. What you should see in front of you is converted to sound. Apparently it works great. I've heard a demo on the radio and it really sounds weird. It's different than sonar, which the blind use, in that light levels are converted to sound.

What could possibly go wrong :) (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046332)

"This computer processes the image information and wirelessly transmits it to a tiny electronic receiver implanted in the wearer's head."

What could possibly go wrong :)

Tounge Eye (1)

sharperguy (1065162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046374)

This reminds me of the tongue eye

It's a camera that was on the blind persons head, and it sends information down so a thing in you're mouth that sits on your tongue, and the pixels on the tongue device move up and down and eventually you can recognise it as images.

Re:Tounge Eye (1)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046482)

You're referring to the BrainPort, which is manufactured by Wicab [wicab.us]. IEEE Spectrum picked it as one of the "tech losers" of 2007 because it is too expensive ($5000-$6000) for what it is. Basically, a camera connected to a computer connected to a little motor that buzzes your tongue.

The sensing resolution on the tongue is way too low for processing visual data. A dog or cane would be just as useful for a blind person and they wouldn't end up attracting stares. Even with more research, Wicab is not going to be able to develop a tongue-based system that will let a user confidently cross the street. The invention mentioned in the article, however, taps directly into the ganglion cells, which are already optimized to pick up high resolution visual information. With further research, scientists could theoretically approach or even surpass the capabilities of normal human vision. Why not let a user see infrared and UV or have an extremely wide range of vision?

Loonix (1)

streptocopter (1052066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046434)

Next thing we'll see a linux distro that supports the new Human BrainTM architecture, I'm guessing it will be a even bigger pain than usual to make the video drivers work with this one.

Uh-oh (1)

ryepnt (1064238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046438)

This throws a whole new wrench in that abc show "Blind Justice"... If the show was still running this topic would be taken care of in sweeps.

Nice glasses (2, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046488)

Doesn't make jordy laforge look so silly now does it?
http://www.newscientisttech.com/data/images/ns/cms /dn11198/dn11198-1_600.jpg [newscientisttech.com]
http://www.newscientisttech.com/data/images/ns/cms /dn11198/dn11198-2_650.jpg [newscientisttech.com]

By the looks of things the signals going to be pretty small so I don't imagine it
would send much interference. But it might recieve a buch though if it has to be ulra
sensitive though. Oh well it's not like you need more than 30-40fps.

On the other hand what if you woke up, switched on your recievers so you could find
where your glasses were by looking at what was infront of them...wonder if they can
do this with car keys?

And one more idea, what about the aplication of remote sensing. You have the recievers
implanted into your head and use cameras around your house. Guess you would need to be
pretty paranoid to do that....

Hallucinogenic Code? (1)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046584)

Once you've got a digital video stream transmitting to the brain it wouldn't be too hard to manipulate it to produce "hallucinations".

I wonder how the DEA/FDA would treat hallucinogenic code? /. Headline in 2015: "FractalStars.c now a Schedule I Controlled Code Block"

Re:Hallucinogenic Code? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046982)

Once you've got a digital video stream transmitting to the brain it wouldn't be too hard to manipulate it to produce "hallucinations".


      It wouldn't be to hard to copyright the video stream either. You just got a letter from the MPAA asking for $3000 because you took your bionic eye to the movies and illegaly copied one of their films...

Old News... (1)

Mindragon (627249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046658)

Man, we've had this since the 1960's! Anyone watch Six Million Dollar Man? Even in the 80's we had this technology. It was called Terminator. Look at him, he's now Governor of California!

I, for one, welcome our Bionic Eye wearing overlords.

Interesting, maybe I'll get one (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046704)

I'm blind in one eye, so this definitely interests me. I don't normally mind the reduced depth perception, but I think it would be nice to have a monocle version of this that I can use when doing delicate work or perhaps driving. I am required by law to have a side mirror on the passenger side, but I have to turn my head too far to be able to see it (bad eye = right eye). I wonder how the brain would handle seeing a near-infinite resolution image coming out of the organic eye, and a VGA/SVGA image from the implant.

Re:Interesting, maybe I'll get one (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046964)

I wonder how the brain would handle seeing a near-infinite resolution image coming out of the organic eye, and a VGA/SVGA image from the implant.


      Probably in the same way that the brain handles everything else. Horribly to begin with, headaches, vertigo, vomiting. And a couple months later, you'll hardly notice it.

department (1)

PW2 (410411) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046756)

I have a screen-print (apparently not aging well) of some of my hobby software where Slashdot posted a similar story a number of years ago -- the point of this post is that they chose a better "department" back then: screen-print of some software [remote-control.net]

Primitive (1)

deuterium (96874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046772)

It reads like some cybernetic breakthrough, but the device is nothing special. The breakthrough will be when surgical skills have advanced enough to actually attach thousands of individual sensor outputs to specific retinal nerves, along with refining the electrical exchange between the two in a manner that more closely approximates nature. The eye is more complex than its connection to the brain, also. There are 100 times as many photoreceptors as there are axons to the visual cortex, so there's a lot going on in the eye itself beyond acting as a receptor.

At present, this is more of a proof of concept than a cure for blindness.

Re:Primitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046938)

There are 100 times as many photoreceptors as there are axons to the visual cortex, so there's a lot going on in the eye itself beyond acting as a receptor.
Yep. PNG/GZIP compression. Parity generation. Multiplexing.

The wonders of nature.

Wireless v Wired (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046860)

Wireless might be bad for the possibility of intercepting/pirate signals. Think of the alternative. A cable comming out? :/ Prone to infection, super ugly, it'd be like a wound that never closed... a head wound at that.

This Should Be Free (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046920)

This is fucking amazing, and huge. No, really.

I think for younger people (who have lost sight due to some premature condition or tragedy), this should be Government funded. I would respect a country's government who gave sight to it's citizens. No one should be blind.

Brain's AGP bus (1)

AnnuitCoeptis (1049058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047052)

I am seriously disturbed, yes. None of the geek community shouted out loud: And how the heck you connect to the neural computer the brain is? Really, how you attach you VGA camera to the brain? I mean I presume brain doesn't have a DVI plug, so, do you somehow managed to plug-it to the 'neural wires'? What coding are you using? What resolution? What FPS? (lol) That is indeed amazing.. Also rises all kinds of dirty questions like=> can we plug or cast video stream to the brain??? we can send pictures directly there??

Can it shed a tear? (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047140)

I have to believe that having not seen in over 50 years, the first glimmer of anything visual would make you cry.

Colo(r)rs? (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047158)

Being partially color deficient, something like this would make it interesting to see colors in the real perspective. They have the technology to restore vision, hearing, and regrow organs, yet fixing simple color perspective has not been fixed? I guess it's not as important, but still would be nice to overcome eventually.

Depends... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047300)

Might be a cheaper way to kinda check it out. Most color blind people are trichromatic like everyone else, but very weak in red or green perception. Most are weak-green (deutan anomalous), but I happen to be weak-red (protan anomalous). If weak, you may be able to get a rough idea how an image would appear by amplifying your weak portion of the spectrum in images. It's the inverse of the process they use to show normal color vision people what color-blind people probably see where they drop the various colors down. Anyway, for example my television offers a feature to do just that and is labeled something like 'color correction for color vision impaired'. I find it handy in certain video game puzzles that require color discrimination.

That said, 99% of the time I leave the feature off. Ultimately, 'normal' is a relative term, and normal/realistic looking to me is matching what I've been seeing for the past few decades. Cranking up the red looks as weird to me as it does to everyone else, though my weird may be closer to their normal, that isn't how it works.

I think those born with a sensory deficiency/lack are luckier than those who lose it later. Though color deficiency is far from a big deal, especially to me, those around me upon finding out say 'oh, sorry to hear, that must suck'. When I have heavy congestion that diminishes my hearing for a while, I always feel a little bit of dread at the thought of persistant, merely incomplete hearing loss, and have a significant amount of relieve the moment that happens when things clear enough to hear well again.

WPA or WEP? (1)

KalElOfJorEl (998741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047174)

Wait until someone figures out the structure of the wirelessly transmitted packets. Would it be weird if all of a sudden you're talking to a friend and some hax0r is transmitting his pr0n directly to your head?

I see an "I Spy" like possibility where Eddy Murphy sees Owen Wilson getting his ass beat in the middle of a boxing match.

Failz0rs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18047200)

We strongly urge counterpart, To survive aT all parties, but here national gay 8igger visions going

eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18047218)

i want mine with one of those IR filters...not for seeing through clothes tho...

Does the wireless transmission have encryption? (1)

Type-E (545257) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047358)

Does the wireless transmission have encryption? If not or if it was 128-bit WEP, I can easily see what he sees including the implanter's naked wife. It will take extra work if it was encrypted in WPA

What about people with detached retinas (1)

cwaldrip (216578) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047410)

As a side effect of premature birth both of my son's retinas are detached. Is there any research into bypassing the retina and going straight for the optic nerve or to the vision centers of the brain?
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