Microchip Implant Restores Vision to the Blind

Two previously blind British patients have had partial vision restored by a microchip implanted behind their retinas, indicating to the brain that the eye is receiving light. 

What's the Latest Development?

Two previously blind British men have regained some vision after being fitted with a retinal implant developed by two opticians at the Oxford Eye Hospital and King's College Hospital in London. The two men suffered from a previously inoperable condition in which photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye gradually cease to function. The opticians developed a "wafer-thin, 3mm square microchip with 1,500 light-sensitive pixels that take over the function of the failed photoreceptor rods and cones." When light enters the eye, the chip sends a signal to the optic nerve and from there to the brain. "The end result is the perception of light."

What's the Big Idea?

While the chip is part of a clinical trial, and therefore not yet a treatment, the advance represents a significant step in augmenting biological processes with a computer. Once the brain receives the signal which indicates the perception of light, patients can alter the sensitivity of the signal "by using a power unit which connects to the chip via a magnetic disc on the scalp." In an unexpected result of the operation, one of the patients said he has dreamt in color for the first time in 25 years. The next phase of the trial will see a dozen British patients receive the implant. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Should teachers be fired for nude pics from their past?

Lauren Miranda sent a nude selfie to a boyfriend years ago. Somehow one of her students discovered it.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Math teacher Lauren Miranda was fired from her Long Island school when a topless selfie surfaced.
  • Miranda had only shared the photo with her ex-boyfriend, who is also a teacher in the school district.
  • She's suing the school for $3 million as well as getting her job back, citing gender discrimination.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less