A blind woman was successfully implanted with a brain implant, thanks to which she can see the outlines of the surrounding objects, since the device transmits visual signals directly to the brain.
57-year-old Bernardeta Gomez went blind 16 years ago from toxic neuropathy of the optic nerve, which destroyed the bundles of nerves connecting the eyes to the brain. Therefore, she decided on an operation to implant an implant in the brain, which is connected to modified glasses with a built-in camera. The whole system is connected to a computer, which processes the video in real time, converting it into electronic signals.
Through a special port, the signal enters the implant with hundreds of electrodes, through which information is transmitted to the visual cortex in the back of the brain. Since the electrodes are located near the neurons, a very weak electrical current is sufficient to transmit signals, which reduces the risk of seizures.
The device was set for 6 months because gradually the immune system will begin to destroy the electrodes and surround them with scar tissue, and the researchers do not yet know exactly how long it takes.. Despite the fact that animal studies have shown that the implant can function safely in the body for 2 to 10 years, the team does not want to risk the woman’s health. In addition, the possibility of flexion during movement is not excluded..
In its current form, the device provides only rudimentary vision with a resolution of 10×10, but this is enough to outline doors, sidewalks or large letters. In the future, the researchers plan to modernize its design and increase the detail to 60×60 pixels or higher. However, it is not yet known how much information from such a device the brain can perceive without overloading..
We also previously reported on the development of contact lenses Mojo Vision with integrated augmented reality technology.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Russ Juskalian
Novel Brain Implant Restores Visual Perception to the Blind | UCLA Health