30 Dec '11, 6pm

Birth of the Bionic Eye

Photo: David Yellen SEEING THE SIGHTS Barbara Campbell's retinal prosthesis sends 30 images per second to her optic nerve. When light hits Barbara Campbell's eyes, it triggers no response in her retinas, and no signals flash up her optic nerves to her brain. A genetic disease killed off her retinas' photoreceptor cells, leaving her completely blind by her 30s. But where her body failed her, technology rescued her. In 2009, at the age of 56, Campbell had an array of electrodes implanted in each eye, and she now makes her way through the world more confidently, aided by bionic vision. Her sight isn't fully restored, not by a long shot, but the darkness has been replaced with rough shapes and patterns of light and dark. "The building where I live has a large light at the entranceway outside," says Campbell, who lives in New York City. "I hadn't been able to see that light in ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/birth-of-the-...

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