Is it a science fiction movie with sheep as the main characters? Obviously not since we are talking here about a study carried out by “real” Australian scientists. The latter actually increased visual acuity in sheep by implanting bionic eyes behind their retinas.
According to the information, the purpose of the operation is to ensure that the implants do not cause adverse effects in their wearers. Currently, the team made up of scientists from the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales is in the process of taking the necessary steps to be able to start testing on humans.
According to the explanations of Samuel Eggenberger, a biomedical engineer from the University of Sydney, there was no unforeseen reaction at the level of the tissues surrounding the implant. It can thus be expected that the device can remain in place for years.
The device which is implanted behind the retina was baptized Phoenix 99 by its designers. This gadget works by transforming a video signal received from a camera attached to a pair of glasses into electrical signals which will in turn be transmitted to the user’s retina. Note that the transmission of signals from the glasses to the Phoenix 99 is contactless.
Signals that arrive at the retina are processed by the optic nerve and sent to the brain.
A market of the future
For experts, bionic eyes could become must-have products in the years to come. A research report on the subject, published in 2021, even indicated that the sector could be worth more than 400 million dollars by the year 2028.
One of the reasons for this probable progression of the sector comes from the fact that several other companies are working on the same type of bionic eyes. There is for example the Monash Vision Group and Second Sight which are also based in Australia. In Europe, there is the French company Pixium Vision which is testing its system based on retinal implants on humans.
In any case, let’s wait and see how this bionic eye industry will evolve. This is a very important area because almost all activities are based on the use of the eyes.