The future promises the continued blending of technology and the eye (such as Google’s project glass) and other amazing emerging optical technologies on the very near horizon.
Google[x] started Project Glass to build a special kind of glasses, moving technology out of one’s way; “helping users explore and share the world, putting them back in the moment.” This video released by Google on Wednesday, shows potential uses for Project Glass. A man wanders around the streets of New York City, communicating with friends, seeing maps and information, and snapping pictures. It concludes with him video-chatting with a girlfriend as the sun sets over the city. All of this is seen through the augmented-reality glasses.
Other Emerging Optical Technology
Blindness is one of the most debilitating conditions that can severely impact people’s ability to lead independent lives.
Bionic Vision Australia is a national consortium of researchers working together to develop a bionic eye that can help restore sight to people with particular forms of vision impairment. The aim is to restore the sense of vision to people living with blindness and low vision. Initially, this technology targets patients with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. With time and more research, it is possible in future that this technology can help patients with other vision impairment conditions.
The bionic vision system consists of a camera, attached to a pair of glasses, which transmits high-frequency radio signals to a microchip implanted into the retina. Electrodes on the implanted chip convert these signals into electrical impulses to stimulate cells in the retina that connect to the optic nerve. These impulses are then passed down along the optic nerve to the vision processing centres of the brain, where they are interpreted as an image.
To benefit from this technology, patients need to have a functional visual pathway from the retina to the brain along the optic nerve, as well as some intact retinal cells. As such, the two medical conditions that this technology aims to address are retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
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