Novel Bionic Eye Uses Gold and Lasers

August 3, 2011

Conventionally, bionic eye prototypes use electrodes to stimulate the nerves of patients who have lost vision due to degenerative diseases and thereby restore vision.  A new type of bionic eye being developed at Swinburne University of Technology is novel in that it offers a non-contact way of stimulating the nerves using gold and lasers.  Nanoparticles of gold are attached to the optic nerves and arrayed to detect different wavelengths.  A low-power laser device (fitted into a pair of glasses) can then stimulate the nerves in a very precise way.  Gold is used because it is inert.

One of the problems that still needs to be worked out is how to make sure the heat generated from the lasers does not damage or kill the cells.  The team at Swinburne is building a thermal sensor to help them understand this problem.

The team’s goal is to develop a prosthesis that will be ideally suited to those with retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration.

To read more about the invention, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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