First of its kind, the newly developed Argus II allows blind patients to perceive movement, color and shape due to electrons implanted directly onto the retina, EurekAlert reports.
The device was conceived by Second Sight researchers, led by Thomas Lauritzen, and fully explained in a study published in the November 22 issue of Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics.
The mechanism consists of a pair of glasses with a little camera attached to them, a mobile processor that translates the camera signals into electrical stimulations and a microchip with electrodes implanted onto the retina.
“In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina,” explained Dr Lauritzen.
“Instead of feeling the braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy.”
Argus II has already been implanted to 50 blind patients.
“This study is a proof of concept that points to the importance of clinical experiments involving new neuroprosthetic devices to improve the technology and innovate adaptable solutions,” declared Silvestro Micera, scientific reviewer of the study.