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Researchers Decipher Neural Code of Vision

By - Source: Cornell University | B 36 comments

Researchers at Cornell University claim to have found the neural code to restore vision for those to have lost their vision due to retina defects.

For the first time, researchers were able to decipher the code a natural retina that is then converted into electrical impulses sent by the retina's output cells to the brain. According to the scientists, typical retina diseases destroy the retina's photoreceptors and the associated circuitry to convert the light impulses. As long as the output cells, or ganglion cells, are still intact - which is the usual case with a retina disease - the deciphering of the retina code enables the construction of chip implants that, in theory, restores vision.

So far, the researchers claim, the concept has worked to help blind mice see again. They also claim to have "cracked" the code of a monkey retina, "which is essentially identical to that of a human". The hope is that 25 million people who are blind because of a retina disease will be able to see again. The researchers believe that their device can provide a "near normal" ability to see.

According to the project, an "encoder" chip can be used to convert natural images received by the eye into "streams of electrical impulses", while a mini-projector is deployed to converts these electrical impulses to light impulses. The researcher found that light-sensitive proteins that are placed in the ganglion cells enable a transmission of the code to the brain.

The researchers said that their prosthetic will undergo human clinical trials, which aims to ensure the safety of the necessary gene therapy to integrate the light-sensitive protein. There was no information when this technology could become available, but clinical trials typically take several years until completed.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    flamethrower205 , September 2, 2012 4:08 PM
    Awesome.
  • 13 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 2, 2012 5:50 PM
    ichihaifuIt would be neat if it would be adopted with micro computer properties. (=email, videos/pictures, internet, txt messages)

    Sounds wonderful until the manufacturers decide to increase revenue through pop-up advertisements.
  • 12 Hide
    aoneone , September 2, 2012 4:26 PM
    Does this mean x-ray enabled microchip!??!
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    flamethrower205 , September 2, 2012 4:08 PM
    Awesome.
  • 0 Hide
    n1kn31m , September 2, 2012 4:21 PM
    "I'll be back!"
  • -6 Hide
    amk09 , September 2, 2012 4:22 PM
    It may be awesome and it may not be.

    I can't get the thought of emotionless robots out of my head...
  • 12 Hide
    aoneone , September 2, 2012 4:26 PM
    Does this mean x-ray enabled microchip!??!
  • 6 Hide
    velocityg4 , September 2, 2012 4:43 PM
    One more step toward making the Borg a reality/
  • 1 Hide
    RipperjackAU , September 2, 2012 4:53 PM
    velocityg4One more step toward making the Borg a reality/


    Oh, my boss would love this. A borg army to cut code 24/7. Ironic, as I write this Sunday morning, from my cubical, as yet again, I've had to work another weekend. ****ARGH****
  • 0 Hide
    beayn , September 2, 2012 5:07 PM
    aoneoneDoes this mean x-ray enabled microchip!??!

    I'd pay extra for that :D 
  • 11 Hide
    beayn , September 2, 2012 5:08 PM
    RipperjackAUOh, my boss would love this. A borg army to cut code 24/7. Ironic, as I write this Sunday morning, from my cubical, as yet again, I've had to work another weekend. ****ARGH****
    I take it the boss isn't there to catch you reading Tom's?
  • 6 Hide
    freggo , September 2, 2012 5:13 PM
    Of course if you pay a little extra you can get a remote control to allow you to zoom in, add Night Vision, IR or UV filters and of course Still and Video capture with Blue tooth downloads :-)

    Don't laugh, if they get the chip to work that would all be possible !
    Then the question comes up if Doctors will offer to replace healthy retinas for the extra features; sort of like cosmetic surgery but to improve features instead of looks.

  • 1 Hide
    alidan , September 2, 2012 5:16 PM
    awsome, at some point i can yell eff this, and get eye replacements for when they get so bad im legaly blind... nice.
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , September 2, 2012 5:16 PM
    Ah yes, and Google/YouTube could add an EyeLive channel (if we include a GPS receiver your Location, Direction and Speed data could be overlaid ); the Apple version will be called iLive of course :-)

    Soccer, Football, Formula One and the 2020 Olympics could then offer a view thru the competitor's eyes.
    Now that would be a reason to watch :-)

    And you know that certain Studios in a seedy part of Hollywood would (wood?) pick up on that too.




  • 1 Hide
    ichihaifu , September 2, 2012 5:20 PM
    lol at the borg comments, its nothing more than a eye enhancement. Its in no way going to be a step forward in robotics. But it will be a leap forward for medical industry.

    It would be neat if it would be adopted with micro computer properties. (=email, videos/pictures, internet, txt messages)
  • 13 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 2, 2012 5:50 PM
    ichihaifuIt would be neat if it would be adopted with micro computer properties. (=email, videos/pictures, internet, txt messages)

    Sounds wonderful until the manufacturers decide to increase revenue through pop-up advertisements.
  • 11 Hide
    CaedenV , September 2, 2012 5:53 PM
    we have knee replacements, heart replacements, now the prospect of eye replacements; and yet we cannot cure bad grammar by those who are paid to write...
  • 0 Hide
    matter37 , September 2, 2012 6:05 PM
    ah, the possibilities
  • 0 Hide
    schnitter , September 2, 2012 6:43 PM
    20/20 for everyone! (that can afford it)
  • 1 Hide
    thecolorblue , September 2, 2012 7:15 PM
    LaForge!
  • 10 Hide
    freggo , September 2, 2012 7:21 PM
    CaedenVwe have knee replacements, heart replacements, now the prospect of eye replacements; and yet we cannot cure bad grammar by those who are paid to write...


    LOL; this from a guy from a guy who begins his sentence with lower case :-)

  • 4 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 2, 2012 7:52 PM
    freggoLOL; this from a guy from a guy who begins his sentence with lower case :-)
    "From a guy from a guy".. Classic. I'll throw in some bad grammar two!
  • 2 Hide
    Cosmonal , September 2, 2012 8:32 PM
    mlopinto2k1"From a guy from a guy".. Classic.


    Digital Delay, from Boss. Classic 80's on stage.
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