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— Health and Wellbeing

Optogenetic therapy shows promise for reversing acquired blindness

Across the world many millions of people suffer from inherited conditions that progressively degenerate the light-sensing cells in their eyes, and eventually send them blind. Recently, however, researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Gottingen have developed a way to possibly reverse this damage by using a newly-developed, light-sensitive protein embedded into other cells in the retina to restore vision.

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— Science

Study finds that retina "language" changes with brightness

Our eyes extract a lot of information from visible light that enables us to see color, movement, shadows, highlights, shapes, and more, with each component processed separately and sent to the brain in parallel to the others. It was previously thought that the same scene would always be converted into the same pattern of activity. But research by scientists at the University of Tübingen in Germany and the University of Manchester in the UK suggests that the signals differ wildly as the brightness of the environment changes by even small amounts. Read More
— Medical

Nanotube film could replace defective retinas

A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible nanotube-semiconductor nanocrystal film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application. Read More
— Science

Three-dimensional light-sensitive retinal tissue grown in lab

The eye is often compared to a camera, but although its basic design is as simple as an old-fashioned box Brownie, its detailed structure is more complex than the most advanced electronics. This means that, unlike simpler organs, studies of retinal disease rely heavily on animal studies, and treating such illnesses is extremely difficult. One ray of hope in the field comes from researchers at Johns Hopkins, who have constructed a functioning segment of a human retina out of stem cells that is able to respond to light. Read More
— Electronics

MARS prototype puts retinal scanning technology in the palm of a hand

Retinal scans have a lot going for them as a form of identification. You can’t forget your retinas, they're unique, they’re a lot harder to steal than passwords, and Captain Kirk uses them. The problem is, the technology needed to run a reliable retinal scan is often bulky, expensive, and hard to use. Scientists at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have shrunk down retinal scanning technology in the hopes of making retinal scans a more widespread identification technology. Read More
— Computers

Toshiba KIRAbook vs. MacBook Pro with Retina display

Last week, Toshiba entered the ultra high-end laptop market with the KIRAbook, a thin and light Ultrabook with a number of compelling features. The laptop is the first Windows 8 device to feature a Retina-level display (or PixelPure as Toshiba calls it), throwing it into direct competition with Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display. We take a look at both devices to see which (if either) comes out on top. Read More
— Science

Researchers transmit braille directly to the retina of blind test subject

Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis is definitely an interesting piece of technology, allowing a blind user to “see” objects, colors and movement in their environment. Ordinarily, this is done with the help of a video-camera-equipped pair of glasses worn by the user. In a recent experiment, however, researchers bypassed the camera, transmitting visual braille patterns directly to a blind test subject’s retina. Read More