Future tech: infrared bionic eyes

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Future tech: infrared bionic eyes

The scientists of Stanford University may soon be able to help the blind see, using infrared light.

Bionic eyes? Like Blade Runner?

Sort of. But you don't need to be a replicant to sport these peepers – under development at Stanford University. The idea is to restore sight to those that have lost it.

How does it work?

A miniature camera embedded in a pair of goggles transmits images to a portable computer – no bigger than a phone – which generates video images. Using infrared lasers, the images are projected directly into chips implanted in the retinas.

How does infrared help?

The chips embedded under the retinas are sensitive – but natural light is one thousand times too weak for them to read. That’s why the goggles – worn like normal glasses – use a small camera to record the view and translate that into more intense infrared signals, sent to the photovoltaic chips embedded under the retinas. Then the nerves and brain do the rest.

Wow, so this is something people can use now?

Not quite yet – they've only tested the equipment on retinas from rat eyes in the lab. But the technology is there – the cure for blindness is a ways off yet, but we're getting closer every day.

photovoltaic-bionic-eyes

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