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Infrared implant brings practical sight to the blind

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 28, 2015
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You can already get a retinal implant to restore some sight when you're blind, but the quality is usually too poor to be useful for more than avoiding collisions. A better solution is close at hand, however: Pixium Vision has successfully tested an implant that should go beyond basic vision. The tiny chip sits just behind the retina and uses infrared light to both stimulate images in your brain and power the whole device. Tests in rats generate vision equivalent to 20/250. That's still far from flawless, but it'd be superior to the 20/500 you can get now -- good enough that you could read the largest letter on an eye doctor's chart. The eventual system for humans, which will use goggles to send images, should manage 20/120 and put wearers above the US' legal standard for blindness. Trial runs start in 2016, so you may not have to wait much longer if you're eager to give the implant a try.

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