As recently reported in the academic journal Nature, a group of researchers from China, Hong Kong, and the US have introduced the prototype of a bionic eye which mimics the human eye for shape as well as function.
The prototype consists of a hemispherical artificial retina composed of a high-density array of nanowires, mimicking the photoreceptor cells present in the human visual organ. And, the electrochemical eye is capable to capture and relay images in real time.
Device potent to Produce High Resolution Images
Currently, with its 100 pixels, all that a bionic eye can do is produce a low resolution image. Nonetheless, the group of researchers is confident as the technology evolves, eventually, the device will become greatly superior in its functionality.
The design of the device bears high degree of structural similarity with the human eye. It has the potential to attain high imaging resolution when individual nanowires are electrically addressed, penned the researchers in the paper.
Whilst the electrochemical eye is already suitable to be implanted in terms of its overall shape, to ensure proper communication with the brain will be a significant hurdle to be overcome in the years to come. The research group is lining up trials in humans as well as animals.
The process of making electrochemical eye for real-world applications could take up to 5 years, nonetheless, the device could soon be deployed in robotics without need of much adjustment, says one of the co-authors of the paper from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
And, the new device is first of its kind to successfully replicate the dome-shaped retina of the human eye. It retains most, if not all, desirable qualities of the human retina.