According tomedia reports, the human eye is an extremely complex device, so it is difficult to reverse engineering it is not surprising. Now, researchers have unveiled the world’s first 3D artificial eye, which not only transcends other devices but is also possibly better than real artificial eye sightings.
Bionic eyes are becoming a way to restore vision to people who have lost their sight, and may even give it to those who are already blind. Currently, the most advanced versions come from companies such as Bionic Vision Australia and Second Sight, all of which have been implanted into patients.
The basic form of both devices is the same, starting with a pair of glasses with a camera in the middle. The data is processed by a small device worn outside the body and sent to the implant on the user’s retina. From there, signals are transmitted to the visual center of the brain. However, the vision of this system is not clear enough that patients cannot rely on it to navigate the world. In addition, studies have shown that this bionic eye may produce striped images and are too slow to capture rapid motion.
Now, however, the new device heralds a huge step forward. A team led by scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has developed a device called electrochemical bionic eye (EC-Eye).
Unlike using a camera-like two-dimensional image sensor, EC-Eye is modeled on a real retina with concave curves. The surface is covered with a row of tiny light sensors that mimic light receptors on the human retina. The sensors are then connected to a bundle of wires made of liquid metal that act as optic nerves.
The team tested EC-Eye and found that it was able to capture images relatively clearly. They can be clearly displayed when placed on a computer screen that displays a single large letter.
Although this is a huge improvement over the existing bionic eye design, EC-Eye’s vision is still far from that of the natural human eye. But the team says that may not always be the case. By using a denser array of sensors and connecting each sensor to a separate nanowire, this technology has the potential to go beyond the reality of the eye. In addition, the team even said that by using other materials in different parts of ec-Eye, the user could be given higher infrared sensitivity — essentially night vision.
Of course there is still a lot of work to be done in the future, but it looks like EC-Eye has a lot of promise.