French company Pixium Vision are currently working on a set of goggles which will allegedly be able to help blind people see.
Reported across various media outlets this week, including The Daily Mail, these goggles are created using an innovative new technology technique known as ‘neuromodulation’. Electricity from an implanted chip is used in this technique to stimulate the nervous system, and in theory, restore sight.
With clinical trials scheduled for 2016, these futuristic goggles could change the lives of those who live every day without sight. Pixium Vision claim that their final product could be able to restore sight to 20/120 which would be revolutionary and a huge improvement for those with visual impairments.
Whilst retinal implants currently exist their quality and function on the day-to-day is nowhere near the standard Pixium Vision hope to achieve.
For the product to work, a surgeon will implant a silicon chip with 150 electrodes into the retina of the patient. When the patient puts on the goggles or dark glasses, an integrated video camera will send images to a portable computer and a ‘pocket processor’. This processor then converts the recording into an infrared image which the goggles beam into the eye . Pulses then activate the implant inside the patients eye and the optic nerve will carry the images to the brain allowing the patient to ‘see’. As part of the process, patients will need to learn to interpret the images in terms of shapes and colours – most likely for the first time in their lives!
With a new trial set to begin next year, this promising invention gives new hope to the future of science when it comes to dealing with optical health and improvement. Yannick Le Mer, the surgeon who implanted the system in three patients told Forbes magaznes: ‘We don’t give them back their sight, but another way of seeing.’