A team of scientists in Spain has equipped a blind patient with a special brain implant. By directly stimulating the visual cortex, the device allowed the patient to see even without eyes (but with glasses).
How does it work?
The system uses an "artificial retina" attached to a pair of glasses. This special sensor detects the light in front of the wearer. The light is then processed into electrical signals and sent to a brain implant made up of several microelectrodes positioned in the patient's brain, allowing him to "see" the light picked up by the glasses.
Researchers from the Spanish University Miguel Hernández tested the brain implant and vision system on a 57-year-old woman completely blind for more than 16 years. During the experiment, the patient was able to identify shapes and shapes detected by the artificial retina - surprising advances towards the kind of bionic eyes so far only imagined by science fiction series like Star Trek.
The team published the research, led by Prof. Eduardo Fernandez Jover, its The Journal of Clinical Investigation .
The results of the brain implant
"We have consistently obtained high-quality recordings from low vision neurons and the stimulation parameters have remained stable over time," says Jover. And he adds that the patient was able to "identify some letters" and even "recognize the boundaries of objects".
Some may be picky about implanting electrodes in their brains. I can understand that. On the other hand, research is advancing very rapidly (beyond the true and declared exploits, Neuralink type). The brain implant tested in this case is only 4mm wide and just 1,5mm long. It has not required abnormal levels of electrical activity and will still be improved. It's still. It's still.
At the end of the experiment, after six months of testing and use, the team removed the brain implant from the patient's brain.
Of course, more research is needed before implementing this technology on a larger scale.