Implants and Bionic Glasses Restore Limited Sight to the Blind:
The process that allows the blind to see starts with a pair of sunglasses, which sport a tiny video camera mounted in the bridge just above the nose. The camera captures an image and sends it down a wire to a visual processing unit hanging on the patient’s belt. That VPU—which is a little larger than a smartphone—converts the world’s complexities into a 60-pixel image in black and white, which it sends back to transponders on the glasses. From there the image goes wirelessly to antennas wrapped around the sides of the eyeballs, and from there to the 60-electrode arrays that are tacked to the delicate retinas.
The Argus II system can’t help all blind people, only those with degeneration of the retina’s photoreceptor cells. The electrodes take the place of those damaged photoreceptors and stimulate the cells that are attached to the optic nerve. So far, Second Sight has concentrated on patients with retinitis pigmentosa—the disease Campbell has—but the company’s device may also help with macular degeneration. Greenberg says that about 200 000 people in the United States and Europe could benefit from the implants.
(via Birth of the Bionic Eye - IEEE Spectrum)