Engineers from the Monash Vision Group (MVG) have begun trialling the ASICs for a direct-to-brain visual prosthesis that is expected to enter human clinical trials in 2014.
The prosthesis will consist of a tiny camera mounted into a pair of glasses, which acts as the retina; a pocket processor, which takes the electronic information from the camera and converts it into signals enabling the brain to build up a visual construct; and cortical implants of several tiles which will be the portal for the stimulation of the visual cortex.
“The aim for this vision prosthetic is to be at least equivalent to a seeing-eye dog or a white cane. While it would initially complement existing aids such as these, we believe the device eventually will replace them, and as the technology is further refined, become sufficiently sensitive to discriminate large print,” Professor Lowery, the director of the MVG, said.
“The microchips we are testing will be implanted directly on the surface of a patient’s visual cortex, located at the back of the brain. It’s estimated that each patient will receive a grid of up to 14 eight-by-eight millimetre tiles,” Professor Lowery said.
Click here for the press release from Monash University