As impressive as that tooth-eye implant was, we're guessing most folks had something more like this in mind when they considered the future of sight restoration. While it's still a bit early in development, and has yet to actually be implanted in anyone, this new retinal implant certainly seems to have the researchers at MIT excited, who say that tests with blind patients could begin within the next three years. The basic idea behind it was apparently inspired by the cochlear implants that have proven successful in restoring people's hearing, although in this case the implant works by electrically stimulating damaged nerve cells that would ordinarily send visual signals from the retina to the brain. According to the researchers, however, the system would only work on folks that have lost their sight due due retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, and it wouldn't restore complete sight, but could let them see enough to find their way through a room or walk down a sidewalk (which is certainly no small feat). They'll also have to wear a special set of glasses (or visor, if you prefer), which will not only wirelessly send images to the implant, but keep it powered wirelessly through a set of coils.
[Via The Register]