In the U.S., approved a clinical trial of an implant that can restore partial or full vision loss. Chip for integration in the cerebral cortex was developed by company Second Sight, which specializiruetsya on technologies to restore vision. The company has received permission from the Ministry of health of the US and are planning the first experiments at the end of the year. About it it is reported in the official press release from Second Sight.
The development of technology in medicine in the last twenty years has allowed many patients to regain previously lost function. So, brain-computer interfaces to restore the spinal cord and allow a fully informed or partially paralyzed limbs to function.
In the field of restoration is most successful American company Second Sight, which produces bionic eye prosthesis: its Argus II system has a state monopoly on the commercial distribution of retinal prostheses in the United States.
Argus II works by using the transmission signal from the points, is equipped with a camera, a small wearable processor, which, in turn, transmits a signal to the electrodes of an artificial retina implanted in the area of the optic nerve. This technology in the first place can help people who suffer from pigment retinitis — a form of retinal dystrophy, which is characterized by partial or complete loss of vision. Bionic eye partially restores the lost functions of the optic nerve: a man who wears such a device, can distinguish between light and movement.
As it became known, in late August, Second Sight has received permission to conduct clinical trials of the new high-tech devices — invasive stimulator the visual cortex. A permit was issued by sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines (Food and Drug Administration, abbreviated FDA) of the Ministry of health.
Orion, the new technology, the company operates almost on the same principle as the Argus II, but does not use in their system a prosthetic retina. Instead, the image taken through the glasses with a camera, using a small portable processor is converted into a set of signals. These signals are sent to the chip, which is implanted directly into the brain — in the area of the primary visual cortex (a small portion of the occipital lobes of the cerebral cortex).
The chip stimulates a small population of healthy neurons in the visual cortex, resulting in vision partially restored (there is an ability to distinguish light). The developers claim that this technology is able to restore partially or completely lost vision in patients not only with pigmented retinitis, but also, for example, glaucoma and retinopathycaused by diabetes.
In 2015, the company has conducted successful test of the Orion on animals. Start clinical trials involving humans with partial or complete loss of vision scheduled for the end of this year. On the further development of the technology (including commercial distribution) not yet reported.
Company Second Sight is not the only leader in the development of technologies to restore sight. So, earlier we wrote about the implant in the retina, developed by Pixium Vision: in 2016, the company began a long-term clinical trial of its technology. Estimated completion date is 2020.