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FIU Researcher Advances Retinal Implant That Could Restore Sight For The Blind
Date:11/14/2013

MIAMI, Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- People who went blind as a result of certain diseases or injuries may have renewed hope of seeing again thanks to a retinal implant developed with the help of Florida International University's W. Kinzy Jones, a professor in the College of Engineering and Computing.

A tiny video camera mounted on special glasses captures the scene in the patient's environment, and a pocket controller relays the captured video signal to the implant. Inspired by cochlear implants that can restore hearing to some deaf people, the retinal implant works by electrically stimulating nerve cells that normally carry visual input from the retina to the brain, and bypassing the lost retinal cells.

The Boston Retinal Implant Project, a highly-specialized, academically-based team of 30 researchers including Jones, was responsible for bringing the implant to light. The group is comprised of biologists and engineers from Harvard, Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and others who are developing new technologies for the blind.

"Jones' work was one the most important technological developments needed to make the device possible," said Douglas Shire, engineering manager for the Boston Retinal Implant Project. "As a result, users of the retinal implant will be able to adjust the implant according to their needs."

Jones has been working for years to advance the airtight sealed titanium housing and feed-through component that transfers the signals from the implanted microchip to the electrodes. His improvements in the density of that feed-through will greatly improve the quality of the image the person wearing the device will see.

The retinal implant was designed for people who lost vision due to injury to the eyes; progressive vision loss caused by eye disorders; or age-related macular degeneration, when the ce
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SOURCE Florida International University
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