Stanford Team Using Subretinal Chip to Cure Blindness

Team hopes three-part system could change the lives of many.

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    TK
    Stanford researchers are working on a cure for blindness.

    A team of researchers at Stanford University is using a combination of cutting edge medical procedure and technology in an effort to cure blindness. The system and techniques required are currently being tested on laboratory rats, but are showing promising results in the fight to end blindness in people.

    The "cure" is a three-part system. The first two parts are simple enough, consisting of a head-mounted pair of goggles wired to a pocket PC. Predictably, there is a camera in the goggles. That camera transmits the video stream to the pocket PC, where it is processed, and sent back to the goggles. That video is then projected onto the retina using infrared beams.

    That's where the trickier third piece of the puzzle comes into play: ophthalmologists must surgically insert a chip with an array of photodiodes beneath the retina. Those diodes are sensitive to the infrared beams that the goggles project. The chip then acts as conduit between the projected imagery and the diseased eye, communicating the image for processing by the brain.

    While the current implementation of the system sounds clunky at best, and Dead Space 2 dangerous at worst, it will, like all technology, shrink and become more convenient over time. Then again, carrying a pocket PC and wearing a pair of goofy goggles is a small price to pay for regaining sight.

    Stanford University, via PC Authority

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