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Science & Technology

Blind Australians get bionic vision to partially restore sight

19 November 2018,Monday, 18:04

Sydney, Nov 19, Xinhua

Four blind Australians have had their vision partially restored through the implantation of bionic eyes, the company responsible for the technology announced on Monday.

Bionic Vision Technologies ran a trial for patients who had lost vision due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, making them able to sense light and dark but unable to see a hand waving in front of them.

Now the company said patients can perceive the world around them in "pixelated grayscale", meaning they are able to navigate without the need for a guide dog, cane or other assistance.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Penny Allen told local media that the technology could have a dramatic effect on the lives of the one-in-4000 Australians who suffer from the currently incurable genetic condition.

"We've been very happy with how they're progressing and they're really happy; and that is the best thing of all," Allen said.

The system works by capturing images through a camera attached to a pair of glasses, and then feeding the information via an external processing unit, to the patient's scalp, and then to the implanted device in the patient's eyes.

Following the success of initial tests in a laboratory setting, researchers hoped that subjects would be able to take the devices home and start applying them to their everyday lives.

"We are working with them to identify things they want to do at home, normal tasks we all do," Allen said.

"One patient is sorting washing, colours from whites, and one patient wishes to be able to navigate independently to some things in the backyard, like the lemon tree."


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