Prototype 'bionic' eye revealed

2010-03-30 16:06

Melbourne - Australia on Tuesday unveiled a prototype bionic eye designed to restore sight to those with failing vision which supporters hope could be the biggest breakthrough since the Braille alphabet.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose government committed almost US$39m to the project, said the device could be "one of the most important medical advances we see in our lifetime".

"The bionic eye project will keep Australia at the forefront of bionic research and commercialisation and has the potential to restore sight to thousands of people in Australia and across the world," he said.

The device, part of which is surgically implanted in the eye, is designed for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss caused by the genetic condition retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration.

It consists of a miniature camera, mounted on glasses, that captures images and sends them to a processor the wearer keeps in their pocket.

Biggest since Braille

The processor then transmits a signal wirelessly to a unit implanted in the eye which will directly stimulate surviving neurons in the retina, signalling an image to the brain.

Those using the bionic eye will not have perfect vision restored, but it is hoped they will be able to perceive points of light in their field of vision which the brain can then reconstruct into an image.

Research director of Bionic Vision Australia, the university and research institute partnership which has produced the prototype, Professor Anthony Burkitt said the device could change people's lives.

"We anticipate that this retinal implant will provide users with increased mobility and independence, and that future versions of the implant will eventually allow recipients to recognise faces and read large print," he said.

Kevin Murfitt, chair of the country's biggest service for the blind and visually impaired Vision Australia, said the bionic eye "will be the next big remarkable invention".

"This is truly a revolution and will be the biggest thing in terms of blindness and low vision since Louis Braille invented the Braille alphabet over 200 years ago," he told ABC radio.

The bionic eye is undergoing tests ahead of the first human implant in 2013.

- SAPA

Read more on:    australia  |  research  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Ramphele: ANC can be defeated

The African National Congress can be defeated, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has told supporters in Temba near Hammanskraal.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Rondebosch - 17:44 PM
    Road name: M5 Southbound
    DELAYS between the N1 Koeberg Interchange and the Race Course Road exit
  • Thursday Newlands - 17:43 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS approaching the Rhodes Avenue exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.