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Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

Bionic eye implant will become available in the US in coming weeks

RATE THIS! +48
Posted in Medicine on 20th Nov, 2013 12:01 AM by AlexMuller

The Argus II retinal implant is like a cochlear implant for the blind. It looks like computing goggles such as Google Glass, but it sends the images the eyeglass-mounted visual processing unit detects to a tiny electrode array that’s been implanted in the user’s retina. Electrical stimulation sends visual information up the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the user’s brain, allowing him or her to see.

 
You could call it a bionic eye, and average Americans will gain access to it before the end of 2013. The device, made by California-based Second Sight with support from the Department of Energy, will in the coming weeks become medically available in the United States for patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa, or RP, a degenerative eye disease that affects 1 in 4,000 Americans.
 
In a recent study on eight people with end-stage RP, those using the implant were twice as likely to be able to correctly identify photos of objects with their outlines enhanced as those who received a scrambled signal from the implant. Without the assistance of the enhanced outlines, patients using the implants successfully identified objects in photos 25 percent more often than those in the positive control group.
 
The Argus II was approved in the United States as a humanitarian device, a status that certifies it as safe and likely to help. While standard approval would have required clinical trials on 300 patients, that status required just 30 test subjects. With an outlay of $1 million per patient, the more limited trials were the only viable decision, Brian Mech, Second Sight’s vice president for business development, told Singularity Hub.
 
Second Sight and its government partners are working toward a device that would allow patients to see well enough to recognize faces — and, potentially, as the technology improves, better even than people with 20/20 vision. Increased accuracy requires more electrodes in the implant, and the challenge is in keeping it tiny.
 
The Argus II implant includes 60 electrodes, but the planned Argus III will likely include 240. The more powerful implant won’t be approved and available to patients for several years, according to Mech.

Tags: Argus IIbionicsbionic eyecyborgbrainretinaeyeblindnesshealth

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+2
Excellent result Argus II - finally it passed the tests with patients and can people who have been waiting for this to change their lives Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+0
Finding this device safe is indeed a crucial step. Now it can be tested with many patients in real life and develop further based on the feedback
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+1
Getting approval for medical application is not easy for any product - good that this mark has been passed
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+0
There is no treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, so the Argus II bionic eye represents hope for blind patients that haven't had much of any to this point Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+1
Second Sight hopes to make further improvements and make it easy to use and reduce training Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+0
One of the patients described the Argus II as a miracle. Without the glasses one can't see a thing, put the glasses on you can suddenly see. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-20
+0
Looking forward for the update by the end of 2013- it would be great to know how many people had access to it and what are experiences Reply
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