The International Symposium on Artificial Retinal Prosthesis (September, 2009) demonstrated various methods of implanting chips to provide vision. A German study indicated that some patients were able to read letters eight centimeters high. In one of the systems, a chip, implanted under the cells of the retina, converts light to electrical signals, which are sent to the retinal nerve cells. Two other German researchers place a camera into eyeglasses, which then conveys data to the chip, which converts it to electrcal impulses that are then sent to the retinal nerves.
Switzerland and Japan are working on a chip that can be placed outside of the eye, on the dermis that protects the eyeball in the socket. The electrodes that stimulate the nerve cells in the retina are inserted inside the eye through a small incision.
Chinese researchers are attempting to stimulate the optic nerve directly.
An American team is working on activating the brain’s visual cortex directly.
American and Australian researchers are working on prostheses that produce biochemical rather than electrical impulses.
Credit: Second Sight