Pune, September 18, 2020: We all know that life is extremely challenging for people with complete blindness. For people with vision, it is difficult to understand their plight.
Over the years many researchers have been trying to find a cure for permanent blindness by exploring various bionic solutions but none has been able to come up with something very promising until now.
Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have been successful in curing the condition of blindness by making the world’s first bionic eye. This will help in bringing back vision with the help of a brain implant.
The bionic eye is known as ‘Gennaris bionic vision system’. This project has been under research and development for a decade.
How does it work?
The condition of blindness arises when the damaged optic nerves aren’t able to carry the signals from the retina to the vision centre of the brain.
The bionic vision system with the help of the brain implants helps in bypassing the damaged optic nerves which then enables them to carry the signals from the retina of the eye to the vision centre of the brain successfully. This helps the blind person in perceiving his/her surroundings thus, restoring vision.
The user will have to wear the system’s headgear which will have an installed camera and a wireless transmitter.
A set of tiles which are 9 millimetres in length are implanted in the receiver’s brain which helps in transmitting the signals.
Professor Arthur Lowery from Monash University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering said, “Our design creates a visual pattern from combinations of up to 172 spots of light (phosphenes) which provides information for the individual to navigate indoor and outdoor environments, and recognize the presence of people and objects around them.”
A team of researchers have also said, “If successful, the MVG (Monash Vision Group) team will look to create a new commercial enterprise focused on providing the vision to people with untreatable blindness and movement to the arms of people paralyzed by quadriplegia, transforming their health care.”
Trials of the bionic eye
The bionic eye system has been successfully tested in sheep with minimal side effects recorded. The implant was installed with the help of a pneumatic inserter in the brains of the sheep.
The system was tested for a total of 200 hours of simulation.
The researchers are now making the giant leap to conduct the first-ever human clinical trials of the bionic eye. The trials are expected to take place in Melbourne.
The researchers are on a lookout for people to provide them with the required funding to speed up the process of manufacturing and distribution.