Solar-powered eyesight a possibility

Solar-powered eyesight a possibility

Chips implanted in the back of the eye to help people with progressive loss of photoreceptor cells – which pick up the light we use to see – could soon be solar-powered, according to a recent article on gadgets blog gizmodo.

Scientists at Stanford University have discovered that near infrared light entering the eye could be used to power circuits imbedded in chips.

A three millimetre long, 30 micrometre thick chip would form part of a system that includes a video camera, a pocket PC that processes the video feed, and a bright near-infrared LCD display built into video goggles – this could act as a prosthetic retina for people with photoreceptor cell degeneration.

The researchers presented their findings at the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting and whilst advanced, Daniel Palanker – a Stanford professor of ophthalmology who worked on the chip – said that he does not know when it would become clinically available.

Engineers at the University of Washington recently got a step closer to developing a contact lens with built-in circuits that allows the wearer to see graphics on top of the world around them after they made a flexible, biologically-safe contact lens complete with electronic circuit and lights.

by Martin Burns

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