Artificial Retinas and Simulated Vision

July 28, 2013

The MIT Technical Review published an encouraging article explaining how artificial retinas give the blind only the barest sense of what’s visible, but researchers are working hard to improve that.

in the US, the Argus II consists of a spectacle-mounted camera captures image data for the user; that data is then processed by a mini-computer carried on a strap and sent to a neuron-stimulating array of 60 electrodes.  Others eschew the camera for light-sensitive diodes in the chip. German company Retina Implant, for example, recently completed human tests with its 1,500-pixel implant that does not depend on a camera but instead directly harvests light and transmits that data to remaining neurons. A photodiode array replaces the photoreceptors.








Argus 2











Some people with artificial retinas can read large letters, see slow-moving cars, or identify tableware. Other patients experience no benefit.

At its best, the current level of vision is very pixelated. What’s seen are bursts of light called phosphenes. “It’s not truly naturalist vision,” says Iezzi. Second Sight says the level of visual acuity with its Argus II is 20/1,260 and Retina Implant says the best visual acuity gained with its device is 20/1,000. For comparison, normal vision is 20/20 and the threshold of legal blindness in the U.S. is 20/200 (which indicates that a person can see an object from 20 feet away that a normal-sighted person can see from 200 feet away).

“It’s not restoring vision like you and I think of, it’s restoring mobility,” saysStephen Rose, chief research officer for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

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Glasses could correct eyesight of macular degeneration sufferers

July 27, 2013

A Nobel Prize-winning chemist has discovered a way to compensate for the distorted vision experienced by people suffering from age-related macular degeneration.

 Prof Walter Kohn of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1998, has developed a device that can correct vision to normal.

Using complex algorithms he can produce personalised lenses that compensate for the distortions, and is developing spectacles and contact lenses.

He is also developing glasses that use tiny computers to display a corrected image from cameras on the inside.

He believes it may be possible for patients to wear a device behind the ear to apply electrical currents to the nerve from the eye to the brain correcting distortions.

He said: “Macular degeneration is a very complex disease, but there is one feature that is present in almost all cases – visual distortions that cause straight lines to twist and curve.

“Each patient has their own personal distortion and they are a great hindrance for every day life. Walking up steps, for example, becomes hazardous.

“I have formulated a way of correcting this using algorithms so we can correct the image on a computer screen for example or produce optical lenses for devices like spectacles.”

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Humanware adds Prodigi Touch Screen Magnifiers

July 17, 2013

Prodigi Duo 2 in 1 electronic magnifier 20″

  • The unique Personal Vision Assistant that incorporates both a table-top magnifier and a hand-held magnifier in one easy-to-use package.
  • Includes a lightweight, portable 5” HD magnifier with a touch screen, that docks right into the table-top unit.
  • Touch and Tap™ controls: no X-Y table or bulky knobs to turn.
  • Diamond-Edge Text™ that can be magnified as much as needed without loss of image quality.
  • Switch from reading documents to listening to them, with the tap of a finger.
  • Store photos and documents to take with you wherever you go.






prodigi 2

For more info:

Duke Hospital Offers a Bionic Eye

July 15, 2013

 Duke University Hospital has been chosen as one of the first sites in the nation to offer a bionic eye to severely blind patients.


The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, developed by the company Second Sight, is the result of more than 20 years of research and development to restore some functional vision to patients with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa.

The key element of the bionic eye is implanted around the eyeball, with a microarray of 60 electrodes inside, stimulating a part of the retina that is still intact. Dark glasses worn on the face contain a miniature camera.

“That camera sends a signal to a  computer – worn around the belt – sends a wireless signal to the implant on the eye, relaying a signal to the optic nerve and vision center of the brain. Intensive training will help the patient’s brain interpret the high-contrast images, which may help them recognize open doors or identify their toothbrush and toothpaste in a bathroom, for example. 

“It’s not giving them the ability to read the newspaper, but it is giving them the ability to function and live independently.”

For more info:


Eyeglasses that Read to You

July 8, 2013

OrCam harnesses the power of Artificial Vision to compensate for lost visual abilities. OrCam is a sensor that sees what is in front of you, understands what information you seek and reads it to you through a bone-conduction earpiece.


OrCam reads, recognizes faces, identifies objects, products and places, locates bus numbers and monitors traffic lights. It does all that with the most intuitive user interface you can imagine. 


Easy to Use

All you have to do is point.

OrCam understands what you want on its own, whether it’s to read, find an item, catch a bus or cross the road.

Faces and places are recognized continuously. OrCam will tell you when it sees a face or a place it recognizes, without you having to do anything.

To teach the device something new is just as simple: for an item shake it, for a place or face wave your hand. When OrCam sees these gestures it will instruct you in real time on how to store the item.

OrCam can read any printed t,ext, in real time.

You can read newspapers and books, signs, labels on any product including medication and even text on a computer, phone or television screen.

As you might expect, the introductory price is $2,500.

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The first PDF reader for visually impaired people

July 6, 2013

The Swiss National Association of and for the Blind (SNAB) has developed an important innovation for visually impaired people. The VIP PDF-Reader overcomes a previously insurmountable problem for people with a visual impairment who want to read and work with PDF files. This innovative product is now available free of charge to Windows, Mac and Linux users.

Please first read the manual before you download the program.

For more info:


Retinitis Pigmentosa

July 1, 2013

Here is an excellent booklet entitled “Understanding Retinits Pigmentosa” published by the Kellogg Eye Inst of the University of Michigan.