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New Bionic Eye Could Give Blind People Rudimentary Sight

The Phoenix99 bionic eye contains a small video camera and bypasses malfunctioning cells that can’t respond to light.

The effort to cure or overcome blindness is a hot topic in medical device development. A recent EVOLVERA article discussed the latest product that’s ready for human trials: the Phoenix99 Bionic Eye. The eye mechanism, developed by scientists from the University of Sydney and University of New Wales, could give a “rudimentary form of vision” to certain types of blind people including those with retinitis pigmentosa.

The Phoenix99 is a pair of glasses equipped with a tiny video camera that captures the wearer’s field of vision in front of them. This image is converted to a wireless signal and then transmitted to a communication module implanted under the skin behind the wearer’s ear. The device bypasses the retinal ganglion cells that no longer work and stimulates the ones that still do to transmit the image to the brain. Preliminary testing showed positive results, and the device will face ethical approval and human clinical trials next.

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