Spanish scientists allowed blind patient to regain sight with brain implant placement, announced New Atlas October 20. The implant, described as an “artificial retina”, directly stimulates the visual cortex of her brain.
The system set up by scientists at Miguel University Hernández d’Elche (UMH) is unprecedented, and their results represent a phenomenal advance in blindness research. According to their study, the patient was fitted with a tiny implant containing intracortical microelectrodes, connected to a pair of glasses that detect light. The light signals are picked up and then transformed into electrical signals by the glasses, which send them to a hundred microelectrodes implanted in the patient’s visual cortex: she can thus perceive the light captured by the glasses without using his eyes.
Spanish researchers carried out a first test of this brain implant, which was crowned with success. The patient, a 57-year-old female, has been blind for over 16 years. During the experiment, she managed to detect figures through the glasses. A success for what constitutes the first connected bionic vision. « We obtained consistent high-quality recordings from vision-deprived neurons, and the stimulation parameters remained stable over time. », Welcomed the team of scientists.
The patient was thus able to distinguish letters and the silhouettes of certain objects. Tests will continue on other patients in order to obtain more results. Researchers plan to perfect the technology in an attempt to produce more complex and detailed images.
Source : New Atlas