Australian researchers at Monash University are constructing an implant for the brain that would restore some vision to individuals with macular degeneration or conditions like glaucoma. The device uses a combination of a wireless camera and a brain implant to stimulate the visual cortex. A visually impaired person using the device would be able see basic shapes and to navigate his or her environment with less difficulty. The idea of visual prostheses, less formally known as “bionic eyes,” is not new; researchers have been investigating the concept for the last twenty years. However this particular device is different because it will operate even if the user has no eyes. The device bypasses the optic system entirely.
Monash expects to be able to release a prototype in the first half of the next year.
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