As constantly evolving species humans are redefining their own evolution by interconnecting the natural and synthetic world. Bionic technology is the major pay role that is inter-winding Human-Machine interface. Today let us know about one of the applications of this bionic technology; Visual Prosthesis or Bionic eye.
A visual prosthesis or bionic eye is a medical device that is intended to restore functional vision to those who are suffering from partial and complete blindness.
eSight is one the visual prosthesis that uses a video camera to capture activities that are happening in front of the user in real time, it also allows the user to control the video processing and then through a series of advanced optics and very high resolution display it presents the video in such a way that the user can see the activities happening in front of him/her. eSight is developed for the people who are legally blind ( the person who’s vision is 20/200 is considered to be legally blind).
This is Yvonne Felix an eSight 3 user. Her eyes have a blind spot that covers 98% of her visual field. She was 8 years old when doctor realised that Yvonne has a macular degeneration, over the years she lost her vision. But thanks to eSight that helped her to restore her vision
But the product like this is useful for the people that are partially blind or legally blind.
There are over 39 million people in the world completely blind. Second sight a U.S based medical product company is working in their next generation product called the Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System, an investigational device intended to bring artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, or forms of cancer and trauma. Their previous product Argus® II, approved by the FDA for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, has been implanted in 350+ individuals worldwide, restoring functional, artificial vision by renewing light perception and transforming the daily experience in the majority of individuals.
Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System is goggle shaped with a camera setup. One end of the goggle is connected to a Video Processing Unit (VPU) where the user can adjust parameters like zoom, contrast etc. The processed video signal is sent to the other end of the goggle where a transmitting antenna is attached that transmits the signal as well as power to the implanted or receiving antenna in the brain.
The signal then reaches an electronic circuit that decodes the signal received from the antenna and sends simulation pulses to the electrode ray which is implanted in the visual cortex between the halves of the brain. Once the implant is in position it requires a thorough and complex calibration which involves making changes in electrodes individually and mapping where the user could perceive vision. After the device is properly setup one will experience flashing lights, but later would experience vision.
The company is working with 6 blind patients to test the prototype. During the calibration of 12 month one of a patient got a seizure, from the result released in June 2019. The product is going through lots of development which may take little longer before entering the market.
The product would be a life-changing for the sightless once entered the market. Evolution of humans hasn’t stop just because we are here, we are changing the evolution by interconnecting natural and synthetic life.
– Abhishek Sharma
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