The team of scientists aims to create a bionic eye, that will make people who lost their sight to see again. The research takes place at Oxford Eye Hospital and there are already good results. The special chip placed behind the retina and acts like replaced cells of a retina damaged due to disease. The chip is connected to the microcontroller, where small processor sends signals to the optic nerve, which then goes to the brain, where signals are processed. In result, patients have visions.


One from six patients that took part in research, Rhian Lewis, lost her sight a long time ago due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease.


In Lewis’ case, after just two days of tests, she was able to make out basic shapes and see outside for the first time in over a decade.

It helped that in her case, Lewis’ optic nerve was still intact. But it still took some time for her brain to adjust to actually seeing for the first time in years. The first test was to see blinking lights on a computer screen, which she passed with ease. But when it came to discerning a white plate on a black table cloth, not so much. Trying to not feel overly defeated, Lewis came back the next day and was able to make out the shape, and more.

Her doctor, Professor Robert McLaren, then took her outside. Light and shadows, trees and cars. A silver car. Lewis was able to distinguish these things, and she was elated, “Being out in the real world, actually out in the street, you know, is far more useful, than locating flashes on a computer screen and doing the things in the lab.”


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