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Biotech Medicine

Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month 102

Posted by timothy
from the I'm-a-transhumanitarianist-myself dept.
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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Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month

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  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:17PM (#45483131)

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

  • Just great... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by canadiannomad (1745008) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:19PM (#45483157) Homepage

    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.

    • by Golddess (1361003)
      What kinds of disabilities would a segway help overcome, that would not also hamper use of a segway?
      • Honestly... Segways for the Disabled [lmgtfy.com]

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

        • by Golddess (1361003)
          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 wi
          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

            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 hav

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

          • 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.

      • > 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

        • by Golddess (1361003)

          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.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

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

        Heart disease, COPD, fibromyalgia, lots of conditions. Not all physical disabilities are readily apparent.

  • 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!

    • 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.
      • 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.

    • by jamiesan (715069)
      Don't forget the crosshairs when linked to your fire arm.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      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.

      I don't have a bionic eye, but I do have a bionic implant in my left eye. No zoom, x-ray, or recording (I have a phone to do that with, don't need it built in) but my previously extreme nearsightedness and age-related farsightedness are cured. I have better than 20/20 vision at all distances now, I see better than most teenagers, and I'm 61 years old!

      Surgery in

  • by zerosomething (1353609) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:25PM (#45483209) Homepage
    So does anyone actually have insurance coverage that would pay for this kind of thing?
  • by psychogre (1475893) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:26PM (#45483233)

    Does it come in red?

  • Who can afford it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:26PM (#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)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    MY SPECIAL EYES

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:35PM (#45483329)

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

  • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

      by RenderSeven (938535) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @03:39PM (#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
    • 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.
      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        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.

        • 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 detectin
      • 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.
      • 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.

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:52PM (#45483515) Homepage Journal

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

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

  • 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)
  • by smoothnorman (1670542) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @03:06PM (#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.
  • Now wondering eyes will be acceptable?
  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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, approxi
  • My vision is augmented. (required added characters required added characters required added characters)
  • but only if it makes me look like Batou.

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