Scientists are hopeful about the new cyborg eye
According to the news, researchers have created a cyborg eye whose function and structures share many things in common with its human counterpart. A nanowire photosensor array formed inside a hemispherical aluminum oxide membrane serves as the retina, while wires formed from a liquid metal (eutectic gallium-indium alloy) replicate nerves by sending signals from those sensors to external processing. It even mimics the vitreous humor (the gel between the lens and retina) with an ionic liquid.
An indium layer helps improve the electrical contact, while a silicone polymer socket keeps the sensors and wires aligned. This isn’t just about cosmetic similarity. In some ways, it’s close and even superior to organic eyes. Its responsiveness is nearly the same across the visible light spectrum, while its response and recovery times are faster. The nanowires are even denser than the photoreceptors in a real eye.
Scientists have been working on artificial eyes for years, but copying the shape and behavior of a real eye has been difficult. It’ll be a long while before an artificial eye like this is ready to restore sight. Its 100-degree diagonal viewing angle isn’t as wide as the 130 degrees of the real thing, although that can be improved. The total light-detecting area is just 0.08 in wide, and its 100-pixel resolution is well below what needs for a meaningful image. The current manufacturing process is also expensive and slow, while there’s a chance the materials will lose effectiveness over time.
With enough refinement, this could lead to implants that restore eyesight while preserving the natural look. The scientists also believe they could one day power the eye with sunlight, until it gets dark.
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