[AI] The Blind Shall Can See

rambabu adikesavalu rambabu_arb at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 23 10:44:17 EDT 2008

The Hindu
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
      Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008
Front page

The blind shall now see 
      Ian Sample and Rachel Williams 
            Camera’s electronic signal gives brain a view of objects 

      Device enables patients to walk about independently
      More patients to be treated soon 

      London: Surgeons have fitted “bionic eyes” to two men in their 50s to 
      partially restore their eyesight. They are among 15 patients who have been 
      given the artificial retinas as part of a three-year trial in the U.S., 
      Mexico and Europe. 
      The two men are the first in Britain to have the artificial retinas 
      fitted. These were done in three-hour surgical procedures at Moorfields 
      Eye hospital in London, it was confirmed on Monday. Both were completely 
      blind, but will now be able to walk around unaided and identify simple 
      If the trial is successful, the £15,000 (about Rs. 12 lakh) retinas could 
      be approved for general use within three years.
      The men have an inherited disease, retinitis pigmentosa, which 
      progressively destroys the eye’s light-sensitive cells, and affects tens 
      of thousands of people around the world.
      The procedure implanted a tiny metal plate studded with electrodes into 
      the retina at the back of the eye. A little video camera mounted on a pair 
      of glasses beams images to the electrodes, which connect via the optic 
      nerve to the brain. Patients wear a small unit at their waist to power the 
      camera and process the images.
      While not reproducing natural vision, the system enables the viewing of 
      basic images on a 10 x 6 grid.
      “These people are truly blind and are dependent on a stick, a dog or 
      another person to find their way around. We want to see if we can give 
      them some level of rudimentary vision which they find useful, 
      predominantly to navigate, so they get some independence,” said Lyndon da 
      Cruz, a consultant surgeon who did the procedures last week. 
      Moorfields expects to treat three more patients soon, and a further five 
      if there are no complications. The device is designed by a U.S. company, 
      Second Sight, and is an upgrade of a protype first implanted in 2002 with 
      16 electrodes arranged in a 4 x 4 grid, enabling patients to walk about 
      independently and distinguish basic objects such a cup or plate on a 
      table. The latest version has 60 electrodes, giving much more detail.
      Doctors expect it will take the men a few months to learn to use the 
      Greg Cosendai, Second Sight’s director for Europe, said: “They should 
      receive enough information to be able to read. That doesn’t mean it 
      [definitely] will work for them, but it’s certainly a milestone, along 
      with recognising faces.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008 

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