Woman Receives First 'Pre-Bionic' Eye Implant

A team of Australian researchers have created the world's first 'pre-bionic' visual implant, laying the ground for a camera-based implant as the technology evolves in the years ahead. 

Woman Receives First 'Pre-Bionic' Eye Implant

What's the Latest Development?


Australian researchers have given a woman the first 'pre-bionic' visual implant, allowing her to see flashes of light despite her inherited blindness. The implant, which is placed behind the retina, contains 24 electrodes. "A small lead wire extends from the back of the eye to a connector behind the ear. An external system is connected to this unit in the laboratory, allowing researchers to stimulate the implant in a controlled manner in order to study the flashes of light. Feedback from [the patient] will allow researchers to develop a vision processor so that images can be built using flashes of light."

What's the Big Idea?

Dr. Penny Allen, a specialist surgeon at the Centre for Eye Research Australia who led the procedure, said: "This is a world firstwe implanted a device in this position behind the retina, demonstrating the viability of our approach." The research team is working closely to record what exactly what is seen by a person with the implant, "looking for consistency of shapes, brightness, size and location of flashes to determine how the brain interprets this information." Researchers say the technology used to create the implant will continue to evolve in the years ahead, laying the ground for a camera-based implant. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    US, Russia, China won't join global initiative to offer fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Why not?

    The U.S., China, and Russia are in a "vaccine race" that treats a global challenge like a winner-take-all game.

    Coronavirus
  • More than 150 countries have joined an initiative to develop, produce, and fairly distribute an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But China, Russia, and the U.S. have declined to join in a bid to win the vaccine race.
  • The absence of these three economies risks the success of the global initiative and future collaborations.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Being in a frisky mood may improve your chances in the dating world

    Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes while dating.

    Could the difference in successful and unsuccessful dates be all about your mood beforehand?

    Credit: 4 PM production on Shutterstock
    Sex & Relationships
    • Fear of rejection, self-doubt, and anxiety are just some of the obstacles humans need to overcome to make a meaningful, romantic connection with another person.
    • According to a 2020 project by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."
    • Across three separate studies, this team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners.
    Keep reading Show less
    Mind & Brain

    Study reveals alarming link between binge-drinking and anxiety

    New research conducted on mice suggests repeated heavy drinking causes synaptic dysfunctions that lead to anxiety.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast