Links: Full Paper, UCSD News Press Release
New Nano-Implant Could One Day Help Restore Sight
With high-resolution retinal prosthesis built from nanowires and wireless electronics, engineers are one step closer to restoring neurons’ ability to respond to light
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) image of individual nanowires and groupies of nanowires. Each wire can produce an electric current when hit by light.
A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego and La Jolla-based startup Nanovision Biosciences Inc. have developed the nanotechnology and wireless electronics for a new type of retinal prosthesis that brings research a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light. The researchers demonstrated this response to light in a rat retina interfacing with a prototype of the device in vitro.
They detail their work in a recent issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering. The technology could help tens of millions of people worldwide suffering from neurodegenerative diseases that affect eyesight, including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and loss of vision due to diabetes.
Despite tremendous advances in the development of retinal prostheses over the past two decades, the performance of devices currently on the market to help the blind regain functional vision is still severely limited—well under the acuity threshold of 20/200 that defines legal blindness.