Artificial eye is already on the market, but sadly not all people can see with it. As the majority of blind people, have the problem not only with the eye, but also the nerve system, the director of University of Miguel Hernandez in Spain Eduardo Fernandez has been researching other ways to make everyone see – brain implants.
His approach is radically new, because it bypasses the eye and optical nerves. According to Fernandez the technology is already there and some underlying principles has already been used in our healthcare system, bringing pacemaker, or cochlear implants as examples.
For the research purposes, his team had to experiment on human retinas of recently died people, use “machine learning to match the retina’s electrical output to simple visual inputs, which helps them write software to mimic the process automatically”, reported MIT Technology Review.
The culmination of his research was at the end of 2018, when he successfully put common neuro-implant known as a Utah array, and connected it to the system for the 57-year-old Bernardeta Gómez, and the women gained a rudimentary vision.
Unfortunately due to use of prosthesis, the behaviour of which is under researched, she had to undergo another surgery to remove the implant, yet the technology passed the proof-of-concept test, which leads to more detailed research, shared the scientist:
“Berna was our first patient, but over the next couple of years we will install implants in five more blind people. We had done similar experiments in animals, but a cat or a monkey can’t explain what it’s seeing.”