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US Begins Bionic Eyes Trial

Monday, February 19th, 2007 at 12:13 by Eliza E. Lanyard

Scientists in America have been given the go-ahead for a trial of the impressively named Argus II, a kind of bionic eye.

Electrodes are implanted in the retina at the back of the eyeball and these electrodes are then fed information from a spectacle mounted camera via a small hand held computer carried on a belt.  

“A bit like what Joe 90 used to have but without the strings” is what Professor Mark Humanyon from the University of Southern California might have said if he had been a fan of the show and was trying to describe it to non techie types.

However, as he was revealing this breakthrough to techy-types at the American Association for the Advancement of Science what he actually said was that it was “real time images from a camera converted into tiny electrical pulses which jump start the otherwise blind eye and allow patients to see”.

It is hoped that the device, once it has been fully developed and trialed, will help restore the sight of those with macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. A prototype has already been fitted to 6 people and it is hoped that over the course of the 2 year trial it will be fitted in 75 people across the USA.

If the trial is successful its hoped the device could go on sale around the world for around £15,000. 

Good news if it works and for those that could then afford the treatment, though somehow I get the feeling it won’t be readily available on the NHS. 


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2 Comments on “US Begins Bionic Eyes Trial”

  1. DannyMackay Says:

    Would it work if I poked my eye out deliberately? cos it sounds cool and I want one.

  2. matt Says:

    you could just buy some binoculars and a some night vsion equipment - this should prove cheaper and less painful and completely reversable should you be unhappy with the results

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