Australia has a bit of a history when it comes to pioneering cyborg technology. The country was home to the first functioning bionic ear implant in 1978 and now, in 2012, comes a new version of a bionic eye
, with Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) researchers announcing the success of their first retinal implant trial.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a degenerative eye disease that affects 200,000 people in the United States and Europe and has left 15 million people permanently blind worldwide. German biotechnology firm Retina Implant AG has developed a microchip that provides a useful degree of artificial vision in patients who have been blind for even long periods. The 3 x 3 mm (0.118 in) chip is implanted below the surface of the retina where it electrically stimulates the optical tissues. After successful clinical trials in Germany, the chip is now being tested in Hong Kong and Britain before moving on to planned trials in the U.S.
February 20, 2008 It has to be among the most powerful examples of the miraculous potential of modern science and technology - restoring sight to the blind. Following approval from the US FDA
last year, Second Sight Medical Products Inc has now announced that enrollment is complete for the first phase of clinical trials on a system that restores a basic level of sight to sufferers of retinal eye diseases. Enrollment at key European sites also underway. Ten subjects have been recruited for the Phase I trial of the second-generation electronic retinal implant known as The Argus II, which is capable of restoring rudimentary vision using an external camera and transmitter mounted in eyeglasses linked to a tiny array of 60 electrodes that are attached to the retina.
February 19, 2007 Patients who have gone blind are a step closer to perhaps one day regaining some of their sight with the news that the United States FDA
has approved a study to evaluate an artificial retina. Researchers at the USC Doheny Eye Institute
are developing the technology that hopefully will help patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration regain some vision using an implanted artificial retina. The announcement by Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC
and associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute, came at a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
in San Francisco.