Johns Hopkins’s Applied Physics Lab is at the cutting edge when it comes to developing prosthetic limbs for amputees. But the innovation doesn’t stop there: APL scientists are also working at building a prosthetic retina.
The prototype prosthesis kind of looks like a sunglasses version of Google Glass, but it’s actually far more sophisticated. In partnership with a California company that’s already producing bionic eyes, APL will develop glasses with eye-tracking sensors:
Using these sensors and onboard hardware, the system will identify potential obstacles, doorways, hallways, and household objects and their relative positions. This information will be distilled into a format that can be projected into the retinal prosthesis, bypassing the damaged rods and cones in the retina.
As with the thought-controlled prosthetic limb, the retinal prosthesis will combine cutting-edge computer sensors with technology that allows the user to manipulate the prosthesis as seamlessly as possible, creating synergy between the computer’s systems and the human body’s systems. I know: crazy. And awesome, too.