Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wireless vision implant

30.05.2008
About 30 million people around the world have grown legally blind due to retinal diseases. The EPI-RET project has sought for a technical solution for the past twelve years to help these patients. This work has resulted in a unique system – afully implantable visual prosthesis.

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
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2008/05/ResearchNews5s2008Topic4.jsp

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses
02.12.2016 | University of Texas at San Antonio

nachricht Earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis may be possible with new imaging compound
02.11.2016 | Washington University School of Medicine

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>