Daily Tech has a great article up about the newest revisions of Second Sigh Vision’s Argus electro-occular implant technology, which aims to partially restore sight to the blind.
The earliest trials in 2004 featured a 4×4 inch grid of electrodes to translate incoming light into electrical signals to be passed onto the brain, but Argus Mach II is now up to 60 electrodes in a 10×6 grid. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but Second Sight thinks the 60 electrode version will allow the blind to read, and even 16 electrodes is enough for the blind to live dramatically improved lives.
Linda Morfoot, 64, living in Long Beach, California, has suffered from retinitis pigmentosa from her initial diagnosis at 21, and by 50 was almost entirely blind. She received an implant of the 4×4 version in 2004. She says the device is life changing and a complete success. She explained, “When they gave me the glasses it was just amazing. I can shoot baskets with my grandson, I can stay in the middle of the sidewalk. I can find the door to get out of a room, and I can see my granddaughter dancing across the stage. When we went to New York I could see the Statue of Liberty, how big it was. In Paris we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, and I could see all the city lights. I feel more connected to what’s around me.”
What an incredible world we live in, where blind grandmas deftly swish basket after basket from the three point line with the aid of their cybernetic eyeballs! That’s a bit of hyperbole, of course, but that’s the wonderful thing about it: soon enough, it won’t be.