[AI] Retina Implant Receives Signalls Wirelessly

shahnaz shycurrim at yahoo.co.in
Fri Mar 14 04:47:58 EDT 2008


MUNICH, Germany — Scientists of the Aachen
university clinic and the Fraunhofer Institute
for Microelectronic Circuits have developed a
retina implant that that wirelessly
receives optical signals from the outside. The
development aims at a technology to
restore eyesight for blind persons.
Worldwide, about 3 million persons suffer from
Retina Pigmentosa, an eye disease
which slowly leads to complete blindness. While
retina cells die off, some nerve
cells in many cases remain intact. These cells
can be stimulated through technical
seeing aids such as retina implants. However,
power supply and signal transmission
through wires incorporate significant hurdles for
the patient as well as for designers.
Now the Aachen university clinic and the
Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic
Circuits (Duisburg, Germany) have developed an
implant that not only receives the
optical signal through radio waves; also the
energy required to supply the circuitry
is fed into the implant using electromagnetical
fields.
Presently, the device is equipped with 25
stimulating electrodes that are connected
with ganglion cells. While the researchers admit
that this is far from providing
an actual eyesight experience, test persons said
they were able to "see" electronically
generated patterns or a coarse impression of the
images they received.
The technology also helps eye specialist to
simplify the implantation of such devices
into the human eye. In comparison to wire-bound
implants, the wireless device is
much easier to implant into the eye and to wear, the
university clinic said.
The long-term objective of the researchers is a
device that completely restores eyesight.
Several local medical technology companies have
already launched EpiRet GmbH, a joint
venture that plans to commercialize the
technology. The next steps will be a device
with higher resolution and a camera that feeds its
signals to the implant.



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