ARE WE BECOMING CYBORGS? It’s an inescapable fact that biochips will have an accelerated impact on humanity as advancements are made and humans seek to improve our life experience using whatever means we can. Arguably there are positive and negative aspects to modifying our biology with prosthetics, devices and electronics, but to a person who is losing their sight or has never enjoyed the sense of sight, the Awesome potential to see again, or for the first time, is a Godsend.
LOSING SIGHT: Retinitis pigmentosa, which affects about one in 4,000 people in the U.S., kills the rod and cone cells that convert light into electrical signals for the brain. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. among people 60 years and older.
REGAINING CLARITY: Sylmar, California-based Second Sight Medical Products, Germany’s Retina Implant, AG and researchers at MIT and other institutions and medical technology companies are all developing, testing and perfecting technologies that stimulate retinas ravaged by retinal degeneration. These visual prosthetics are already helping patients recognize objects and see shapes clearly enough to read at a basic level at normal reading distance and in regular light conditions.
BIONIC EYES: Retina Implant’s 3X3 millimeter, 0.1 millimeter thick microelectronic chip uses 1,500 light-sensitive photodiodes, amplifiers and electrodes that, when implanted directly under the retina, stimulates the inner retina nerve cells by converting light that enters the eye into electricity that stimulates any still-functioning retinal nerves. According to Eberhart Zrenner, the company’s co-founder, it takes the brain one or two days to adapt to chip-assisted vision. He says that they’re finding that the human brain can quickly learn to interpret the lines, shapes and varying gray levels that are initially seen by new implant recipients.
HOPE FOR THE BLIND: A handful of devices are already available commercially, while all of them are undergoing continuing trials as researchers work towards perfecting the technology.
S O C i A L L Y S P E A K I N G
The Guardian: “I would like to pay tribute to those who agree to take part in these trials. Thank you all.” – Amadeus37 “I’ll save my plaudits for the scientists and opthamologists that made this happen …and will continue developing it, I hope …and would hope a helluva lot more so, if i had the misfortune to be blind!!!” – in4apenny
Gizmodo: “Even trying to imagine the feeling you would get after going outside after getting a future implant is impossible. I can’t wait to see what this kind of tech leads to for those without sight.” – EljhHck “I’m colorblind and that’s how I have to think about colors on a daily basis. I have to consider the parameters before I can make a guess. If I see a guy wearing a blue shirt, I can’t tell you whether it’s blue or purple, but usually it’s blue because most guys don’t wear purple shirts. If I can get most colors right without really “seeing” them, then the blind will surely be able to navigate with this technology even with just basic shapes and depth.” – c010rb1indusa
– W O R T H Y F U N D R A i S E R S –
VetAir: Vet Air transport service is available to all American Veterans who would be suffer financially, cannot make other arrangements or need quicker transport to their VHA health care facilities,
The American Veteran Transportation Endowment: This Catalyst Endowment Fundraiser will help American Veterans across our nation and around the world who require assistance in making arrangements and paying for burdensome transportation services.
M O R E R E S O U R C E S
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