Brain Implant Market to Develop as Researchers Create an Implant that would help Restore Vision of Users
Blindness is among the most challenging conditions to live through. It makes one co-dependent on their family members for a large part of their life to the extent that their life quality and self-autonomy are deeply affected. Thus, researchers worldwide are developing techniques that could help find a cure but to no avail till now.
A newly published research might have the potential to lead us closer to the solution. The team in the study demonstrated a successful form of artificial vision for a blind participant. This was done through a prosthesis hardwired into the woman’s brain. The development could potentially revolutionize the Brain Implant Market as it allows the users of brain implants to identify personnel, cars, and doorways easily. Thus, offering independence and safety to people who have blindness.
The participant named Berna Gómez helped the team conduct many experiments for around six months. One of the neurosurgeons with the team implanted the microelectrode array referred to as “Utah Electrode Array” (UAE) and stimulated the electrical activities of neurons. The research is a huge step forward in developing visual prostheses resulting in increased independence for the blind.
The newly developed technology is equipped with a miniature video camera. It further includes specialized software that encodes the visual data collected through the camera—the information contained in the set to the UEA. The array after that stimulated the neurons to create phosphenes. When the participant looked at them, she perceived them as white points of light that helped create an image.
The team provided evidence that surgery entailed no further complications. In addition, it was determined that the UEA did not restrict or damage the function of neurons present close to the electrodes. Further, it also did not impact the functions of the underlying cortex. The tests showed that Gómez could successfully identify shapes, lies, and simple letters made through different stimulation patterns. It was observed that she provided accurate descriptions of the visual perfections.
The UEA allows amputees to control artificial limbs by simply their desire, like moving a hand or a finger. The results achieved are fascinating as they include both efficacy and safety. It shows that the brain implant introduced has great potential in helping restore vision for people.
The research team is optimistic that the following experiments will include a more complex image encoder system to stimulate even more electrodes while reproducing more sophisticated visual images.
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