The camera picks up whatever you’re looking at and the computer turns it into a pixelated picture and transmits that picture into a device in the eye that stimulates the eye

degenerative condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inheritable disease where the rods and cones in the retina slowly stop working

The Argus II implant gives such patient a new kind of sight.

the system can not only give people a basic form a sight back, but can also, in some cases, even help them read.

It works by taking over the role of generating electrical signals from the redundant retina, with an implant sending pulses down the optical nerve that the brain can learn to interpret as vision

It’s nothing like vision we’d recognise, though — instead, it’s very abstract, often no more than pulses or flashes of light

The fitted patient can see flashes of light, if he focuses on an object it’ll appear as a flash of light. He can identify that object and where it is. He can see where windows are, where doors are. He can see clothing, the difference between a white shirt and a black shirt if there’s a contrast

23 out of the 30 people tested could read large letters, and four of them could read small letters

Argus II has two broad components. There’s the external component — a pair of Oakley sunglasses with a tiny camera built into the bridge attached to a small computer. The camera picks up whatever you’re looking at and the computer turns it into a pixelated picture and transmits that picture into a device in the eye. The device in the eye consists of a receiver and an electrode panel that stimulates the eye with the same pattern. The image is transmitted wirelessly. You put the sunglasses away and you look normal, nobody can see the device in the eye

Patient need a fonctional optic nerve, so Argus II excludes the huge number of people who are blind from glaucoma or from trauma severing the optic nerve, or from optic nerve disorders. That’s one large group this device will never help, because there’s no connection between the artifical retina and the brain

Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/18/bionic-eyes-argus-ii-approved-fda

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