MrSeb writes "Utilizing neuroscience, gene therapy, and optogenetics, a pair of researchers from Cornell University have created a bionic prosthetic eye that can restore almost-normal vision to animals blinded by destroyed retinas. Prosthetic eyes have been created before, but for the most part these have been dumb prosthetics — chips that wire themselves into the ganglion cells behind the retina, which are the interface between the retina and optic nerve. These chips receive optical stimuli (via a CMOS sensor, for example), which they transmit as electrical signals to the ganglion cells. These prosthetic eyes can produce a low-resolution grayscale field that the brain can then interpret — which is probably better than being completely blind — but they don't actually restore sight. The Cornell prosthetic eye however, developed by Sheila Nirenberg and Chethan Pandarinath, is a much closer analog to a real eye, almost completely restoring sight in mice — and within 1 or 2 years, humans (PDF)."
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