For twelve years, experts from different disciplines in the fields of microelectronics, neurophysics, information engineering, computer science, materials science and medicine have been working to develop a visual prosthetic device for patients who have lost their sight through diseases of the retina.
In September 2007, their effort was rewarded. In a clinical study including six patients, the team was able to demonstrate not only that a completely implantable vision prosthesis is technically feasible and proven functioning, but also that it enables patients to perceive visual images.
“For normally sighted people that may not seem much, but for the Blind, it is a major step,” comments Dr. Hoc Khiem Trieu from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg. “After years of blindness, the patients were able to see spots of light or geometric patterns, depending on how the nerve cells were stimulated.”
Dr. Hoc Khiem Trieu has been involved from the outset of this project, which was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. Together with Dr. Ingo Krisch and Dipl.-Ing. Michael Görtz he translated the specifications given by the medical experts and material scientists into an implant and chip design. The scientists are to receive the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2008 for their work.
“A milestone was reached when the prosthetic system finally operated wirelessly and remotely controlled,” explains Dr. Ingo Krisch. “A great deal of detailed work was necessary before the implant could be activated without any external cable connections.” “The designs became smaller and smaller, the materials more flexible, more robust and higher in performance, so that the implant now fits comfortably in the eye,” reports Michael Görtz. The system benefits from a particular disease pattern, and it uses a specific operating principle to restore sight: Suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, the light sensitive cells are destroyed, but the connection of the nerve cells to the brain remains intact.
The scientists have bypassed the defects of the retina by means of a visual prosthesis. The complete system comprises the implant and an external transmitter integrated in a spectacle-frame. The implant system converts the image patterns into interpretable stimulation signals. Data and energy are transferred to the implant by a telemetric link. The nerve cells inside the eye are then stimulatedaccording to the captured images. Those intact cells are innervated by means of three-dimensional stimulation electrodes that rest against the retina like small studs.
Press Office | alfa
Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract
28.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Artificial intelligence may help diagnose tuberculosis in remote areas
25.04.2017 | Radiological Society of North America
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences