Restoring the eyesight to a patient isn’t exactly new and as we have seen in the past, this is possible through practices such as eye transplants. However the only downside is that this means that patients will have to wait for the organ to become available, which in some cases has led to a black market in illegal organ trading.
However researchers at Rice University might have come up with something else that could help to restore not only eyesight, but other sensory impairments in the future thanks to a brain implant. Dubbed the FlatScope, this is basically a flat microscope that sits in your brain and is capable of monitoring and triggering neurons modified to be fluorescent when active.
So by being able to monitor them, in turn it should allow the creation of sensors that are capable of sending audiovisual data to the brain, thus “fixing” senses that might be impaired or damaged, such as sight or sound. However we reckon that such technology is still probably a very long way off from actually happening, but it seems like a step in the right direction.
Rice University’s FlatScope is part of DARPA’s initiative towards creating a high-resolution neural interface. According to Phillip Alvelda, the founding NESD Program Manager, “By increasing the capacity of advanced neural interfaces to engage more than one million neurons in parallel, NESD aims to enable rich two-way communication with the brain at a scale that will help deepen our understanding of that organ’s underlying biology, complexity, and function.”