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Improving on eyes: Human-Machine Interaction in Cyborg Vision

05.12.2022 04:01 AM
Improving on eyes: Human-Machine Interaction in Cyborg Vision
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Improving on eyes: Human-Machine Interaction in Cyborg Vision

The co-founder of Elon Musk's brain chip startup Neuralink has unveiled plans for an eye implant that could one day provide a cure for blindness.

Dubbed the Science Eye, the technology aims to target two forms of serious blindness, for which there is currently no cure, and will eventually act as a brain-computer interface (BCI) by transmitting information through the wearer's optic nerve.

Led by former Neuralink boss Max Hudak, brain-computer interface (BCI) start-up Science Corp has already raised $160m to market its technology.

Science Eye can treat distinct types of blindness, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The technology will work by stimulating the optic nerve through an implanted ultra-dense, flexible microLED display panel that is inserted directly above the retina. The company would then employ gene therapy to act as an intermediary and connect the two.

Future versions of the Science Eye could replace the glasses and even act as virtual reality glasses, Hudak said.

Hodak is taking a different route from Neuralink, which drills holes in a patient's skull to insert electrodes into the brain. Instead, Science Corp. wants to use photoreceptors to pass information through the optic nerve to the brain.

And while the company says it will initially work on animals, it hopes to introduce the device into human patients in the not-too-distant future.

"Our primary focus is to demonstrate sufficient safety data in animals so that we can begin a human clinical study, which is the first step towards a finished commercial product," the company said.

"This is something we think will improve as we learn more - a lot of neuroscience is difficult to do in animals - but with that said, we hope to restore significant independence even to our first (future) patients."

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