Re: TECH: Technology accelerating technological progress

anthony c orlando (
Wed, 12 Mar 1997 08:34:46 EST

On Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:11:33 -0500 Michael Lorrey <>

>There are researchers experimenting with implanting chips inside the
>retina that run on photovoltaic power, and can create images of 10x10
>pixels. WHile this may seem like not that much, it is better than
>nothing for a blind person, and they promise greater advances in
>resolution in the future....


Chris Hind wrote:

Tony, then you REALLY MUST see Future Fantastic! They show experiments
where they allowed a guy to see lines and colors by putting a chip on the
optic nerve. I'm very sure you will get your vision back. The optic nerve
doesn't atrophy with that disease correct? I sure hope not.

The problem with Retinal Degenerative Diseases like Retinitis Pigmentosa
and Age Related Macular Degeneration (of which most people will develop
unless aging is slowed) is that the retinal cells die. How will these
chips work with inactive cells?

The optic nerve remains intact but there are claims it is too difficult
to attach to. This amazes me since my sisters cochlear implant and newest
speach processor have returned almost all her hearing. How is the optic
nerve so much different from the auditory nerve that we can successful
interface with the auditory nerve but not with the optic nerve?

There is a Cuban doctor that claims he has developed a way to bring these
cells back to life using a combination of ozone therapy and electric
shock. Despite claims from his patients that ithe procedure returned
some of their vision, the international medical community have not
verified the results, nor been able to monitor the Cuban implementation.

Other research on retina's I'm aware of include:

Nutrition: a 7 year study concluded in '92-93' by the RP Foundation,
Fighting Blindness determined 15,000 IUs of vitamin A palmitate could
reduce retinal degeneration in RP patients by as much as 7 years while
400 IU supplements of vitamin E seemed to accelerate retinal
deteriouration. Bilberry extract has also been used to enhance night

Cell transplant: experiments have been done in rabbits that demonstrate
that transplanting healthy epithelial cells into a diseased retina may
halt further deterioration (rescue) but not rejuvenate dead cells

What I've read so farindicates that whole retinal transplants are
impractical due to the delicate, thin nature of the retina, and that
whole eye transplants are impractical due to inability of connecting to
the optic nerve.

Corning makes an amber colored photo-sensitive glasses lens that is used
to enhance depth perception and reduce glare. I wonder if this kind of
thing could lead to some sort of cornea cover for normal sighted people
or, fearing decline in sale of sun glasses, would the Optics industry
thwart it.

If we can incorporate CCTV magnification technology, OCR (Optical
Charachter Recognition), and light filtering mechanisms, with
biological/artificial eyes, subcutaneous computer chips, and the optic
nerve, we'd be in a good position to cure many forms of blindness. We'd
also greatly enhance human ability to use our sense of sight in far
greater ways.

Can you imagine not needing pigeons in U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue
helicoptors to search for shipreck victims because the human eye is even
more acute? Can you imagine periodically going into the shop to recieve
new eyes as our old ones deteriorate? Far range vision, macro-micro, UV,
IR, thermal imaging, photo sensitive shading, downloading everything you
saw that day to computer backup, - endless possibilities. The ultimate
would be interfacing computer output directly into your optic nerve
without needing a monitor to give new meanings to the terms VR and
portability .

peace, love, and understanding