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Biotech Medicine Technology

MIT Microchip Could Someday Restore Vision 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-see-clearly-now dept.
CWmike writes "Researchers at MIT have developed a microchip that could, one day, enable blind people to regain some level of vision. By combining wireless technology, eyeglasses equipped with a camera, and the chip, they should be able to restore at least some vision to people who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of blindness, the scientists say. The chip, which is designed to be attached to the eyeball, would pick up images sent from the camera and electrically stimulate the nerve cells that normally carry visual input from the retina to the brain. The chip is sealed in a titanium case to keep water from leaking in and damaging its circuitry. At this point, the technology is not expected to restore normal vision, but MIT said it should provide the ability to navigate around a room or walk down a sidewalk. 'Anything that could help them see a little better and let them identify objects and move around a room would be an enormous help,' said Shawn Kelly, a researcher in MIT's Research Laboratory for Electronics. 'If they can recognize faces of people in a room, that brings them into the social environment as opposed to sitting there waiting for someone to talk to them.'"
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MIT Microchip Could Someday Restore Vision

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  • Re:Neat, but... (Score:2, Informative)

    by DrMrLordX (559371) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:32PM (#29546047)

    I am not an expert in the field or otherwise well-informed about the subject matter at hand, but it seems to me the major differences here are that it's wireless and that it communicates with a glasses-mounted camera that would hopefully be less obvious to a casual observer than the Borg-like implants that have been used to provide limited sight to the blind in the past. The article is somewhat lacking in the details department.

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; I've merely arrived at these conclusions via assumptions based on the post and the article.

  • Re:Neat, but... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:22PM (#29546247)

    - Last I heard, this sort of technology was approaching 1000 effective pixels of visual information (assuming ideal electrode placement). Has this effort from MIT pushed this boundary? How does '1000 effective pixels' compare to the eye's effective resolution? Can we put normal vision in terms of pixel resolution?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_eye#Dynamic_range

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