Researchers are developing a retinal implant that works with camera-equipped smart glasses and a microcomputer that may help the blind people in getting artificial vision.
“Our system is designed to give blind people a form of artificial vision by using electrodes to stimulate their retinal cells,” said researcher Diego Ghezzi from the Ecole Polytechnique federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
The camera embedded in the smart glasses captures images in the wearer’s field of vision, and sends the data to a microcomputer placed in one of the eyeglasses’ end-pieces.
The microcomputer turns the data into light signals which are transmitted to electrodes in the retinal implant, according to a paper published in Communication Materials.
The electrodes then stimulate the retina in such a way that the wearer sees a simplified, black-and-white version of the image.
This simplified version is made up of dots of light that appear when the retinal cells are stimulated. However, wearers must learn to interpret the many dots of light in order to make out shapes and objects.
Two parameters are used to measure vision — field of vision and resolution.
For the study, the engineers therefore used these same two parameters to evaluate their system.
The retinal implants they developed, the system has not yet been tested on humans, contain 10,500 electrodes, with each one serving to generate a dot of light.