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Working Artificial Eyes Under Development

Sight is a sense that we typically take for granted. Without the ability to see, just moving through our very visual world can be challenging. Many optically-challenged individuals make do with seeing-eye dogs, walking sticks, or the occasional super-powers, though they're still poor replacements for a working pair of eyes.

Researchers at the University of Tübingen have been working on a project, dubbed SUBRET, that will effectively restore eyesight through the use of artificial implants. It's designed for a particular form of blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa. A microchip, embedded with an array of 1,500 light-sensitive diodes, was temporarily implanted in 11 patients for testing. The photodiode array reads the natural image within the patient's eye, and transmits that image to the brain using electrical impulses.

So far, the tested patients have been able to recognize basic shapes, patterns and light sources with their roboticized retinas. The researchers hope to make an upgraded version that can be permanently implanted. Maybe they could throw in some sort of HUD or augmented reality system while they're at it. After all, if you can have robotic eyes, why not go for broke?

[source: SUBRET Consortium via New Scientist]