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US scientists have opened the way for the development of a "bionic eye".
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US scientists have opened the way for the development of a "bionic eye". - April 24, 2007, 01:25 PM

Be forewarned, this topic will probably become political



US scientists have opened the way for the development of a "bionic eye".

They used electrodes to stimulate an area of the brain that processes visual information, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported.
The results in monkeys increase the chance that people with conditions such as glaucoma will one day have their vision restored with a prosthetic eye.
But experts warned it would be a big hurdle to implant enough electrodes to recreate an entire image in the mind.
Researchers have looked at several ways of restoring sight to people who have become blind because of an accident or common diseases such as macular degeneration.
In such patients, the eye has ceased to function but the visual centres in the brain are intact.


The goal is to bypass the eye and stimulate the visual parts of the brain to recreate an image in the mind.


Visual signal

The team used normal-sighted monkeys to test whether stimulating an area of the thalamus deep in the brain could produce a visual signal.
First they trained the monkeys to look at suddenly illuminated points of light.
Then they placed one or two very fine electrodes into the appropriate area of the brain to see what their reaction would be.





They found that the monkeys moved their gaze in the same way they would if a point of light appeared.
Lead researcher, Dr John Pezaris, research fellow at Harvard Medical School, said the experiment was an important step but one of the major hurdles to a human prosthesis would be to get many more electrodes in place.
"We need to increase the number of electrodes 100-fold before this would be useful in patients."


He explained that lots of electrodes would need to work together for patients to distinguish patterns and therefore full images.
The idea is that eventually a patient would wear a special set of glasses with a small digital camera mounted in the lens.
An external signal processor would translate the image from the camera into impulses and transmit them wirelessly to a stimulator implanted in the brain, which would deliver images to the visual system.


"This research is an important step," Dr Pezaris added.
Ian Andolina, researcher in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in the UK, said the experiment demonstrated the principle worked.
"The way this bit of the brain is structured allows you to stimulate the central part of the vision very well, which would be important for conditions such as macular degeneration," he said.
"But there is a fairly big problem for the future, which is how they are going to increase the number of stimulating electrodes as it sits deep in the brain."


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April 25, 2007, 07:27 AM

My only political objection is using animals who cannot consent for experimentation.

Otherwise I'm delighted to hear that blind people may see again. Humans are visual animals and sight is very important to our survival and quality of life. I just wish they'd perform their experiments on consenting human adults.


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April 25, 2007, 07:34 AM

This will help millions of teenaged boys.
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April 25, 2007, 07:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madali
This will help millions of teenaged boys.
They aren't claiming X-ray vision, Madali...


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April 25, 2007, 07:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kat
They aren't claiming X-ray vision, Madali...
True, but parents have been telling boys for years that "If you do that, you will go blind!"
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April 25, 2007, 08:57 AM

My mom and sister have macular degeneration. This is awesome!
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April 25, 2007, 09:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter
My mom and sister have macular degeneration. This is awesome!
Amen !...I not only have stigmatism, but just recently found out that I also have keratoconus...kerato who !?!?...right.

Keratoconus is an eye condition named after the Greek Terms "kerato," meaning cornea, and "conus," meaning cone. Keratoconus causes the cornea to become cone shaped and thinner, disrupting the visual function

Supposedly there's a way to treat this now (link)..

It f*n sucks..does anyone else have this?


You're Welcome...

Last edited by ziggy; April 25, 2007 at 09:15 AM..
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April 25, 2007, 10:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by zigzag
Amen !...I not only have stigmatism, but just recently found out that I also have keratoconus...kerato who !?!?...right.

Keratoconus is an eye condition named after the Greek Terms "kerato," meaning cornea, and "conus," meaning cone. Keratoconus causes the cornea to become cone shaped and thinner, disrupting the visual function

Supposedly there's a way to treat this now (link)..

It f*n sucks..does anyone else have this?
no, but I used to have beer goggles alot...


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April 25, 2007, 10:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by boston-birdman
no, but I used to have beer goggles alot...
Um used to?

And I'll go ahead and make it political... I don't understand why someone would be against using animals to further research things that would generally improve the quality of life for humans.

If 500,000 monkeys were lost in tests trying to cure cancer, and then we found the cure from it, wouldn't it be worth it? Especially if you had a loved one that had cancer and was suddenly cured?

....and... GO!


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April 25, 2007, 10:50 AM

Ehh... I eat meat... we kill hundreds of thousands in Bagdad... save consent for the bigger issues.


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April 25, 2007, 11:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gixrben
we kill hundreds of thousands in Bagdad...
Of what?


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April 25, 2007, 11:01 AM

Beings. And the "we" is a general term for Humanity.


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Last edited by B; April 25, 2007 at 11:05 AM..
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April 25, 2007, 11:03 AM

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April 25, 2007, 11:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gixrben
Beings. And the "we" is a general term for Humanity.
Maybe worldwide, but not in Baghdad alone..


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April 25, 2007, 12:23 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/29/iraq.deaths/

as of Oct. 2004.... not including unconsenting cows and monkeys


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Last edited by B; April 25, 2007 at 12:32 PM..
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