New Implant For Blind People Jacks Directly Into the Brain

New Implant For Blind People Jacks Directly Into the Brain

The implanted array has 100 electrodes and resembles a tiny bed of nails.
Researchers have successfully bypassed the eyes.

After 16 years of darkness, Bernardeta Gómez was given a six-month window during which she could see a very low-resolution semblance of the world, MIT Technology Review reports.

She wore a modified pair of glasses, blacked out and fitted with a tiny camera, and hooked up to a computer that processes a live video feed, turning it into electronic signals.

A cable suspended from the ceiling links the system to a port embedded in the back of Gómez’s skull,  wired to a 100-electrode implant in the visual cortex in the rear of her brain.

When she was 42, toxic optic neuropathy destroyed the nerves that connect Gómez’s eyes to her brain, rendering her totally blind.

Gómez’s first moment of sight came after decades of research by Eduardo Fernandez, director of neuroengineering at the University of Miguel Hernandez, in Elche, Spain. His not-so-humble goal: to return sight to as many as possible of the 36 million blind people worldwide who want to see again. And his approach is particularly exciting because it bypasses the eye and optical nerves.

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