These glasses will make you think of Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I assure you they are real world. According to Hackaday, French company Pixium Vision will be starting human trials using its Prima Bionic Vision Restoration System. This consists of tiny wireless sub-retinal implants.
The PRIMA implant is a photovoltaic chip about 2mm square and only 30 microns thick. That’s tiny, but the device has 378 electrodes. The patient uses a device that looks like a conventional pair of glasses but contains an integrated camera that sends data wirelessly to a small pocket-sized image processing computer. This computer then commands the glasses to send data to the implant via invisible infrared light. The chip converts the light to electrical impulses and conducts them to the optic nerve.
The implants are geared to help people with age related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss. Although the glasses appear to be a bit thick, the trade-off is well worth improved eyesight. The company has already had success in rats and cats, so they are moving onto bigger work as stated on their site. “The initial goal of PRIMA is to deliver improved visual perception potentially to the level of direct facial recognition”. As they say in Star Trek—make it so! Speaking of glasses, did you know you can create your own Electronic Sunglasses that you can turn on and off? These are similar to those upscale windows you’ve seen only they combine 3D printing with an LCD Controllable Blackout Panel. Have fun using science for something you can wear frequently.
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