Scientists Develop
User Controlled Robotic Eye Lens

Published in an article in the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials is a project from U.C. San Diego Scientists who have devised a prototype soft robotic eye lens. The lens is user controlled via blinking and visually foraging.

It uses electrical signals and electrooculography. "Electrooculography (EOG) is a technique for measuring the corneo-retinal standing potential that exists between the front and the back of the human eye. The resulting signal is called the electrooculogram. Primary applications are in ophthalmological diagnosis and in recording eye movements. Unlike the electroretinogram, the EOG does not measure response to individual visual stimuli." - Wikipedia

The electrooculograpic signal is generated by the eye movement and controls the motion and focus. It is basically biomimicry - technology mimicing biology. By looking around, blinking and functions that a normal human eye would be engaged in, the user is able focus the soft lenses as though they were natural biological organs.

Head researcher Shengqiang Cai stated that "Even if your eye cannot see anything [blind] ...many people can still move their eyeball and generate this electro-oculographic signal." ... So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for the blind.

In related research light cell devices were implanted in the eyes of a blind man Delvin Kehoe. Kehoe had been blind for about 20 years due to a degenerative disease.

He can now see shapes, lights and even his own face. 'I looked in the mirror and there I was, and that was the first time I'd seen myself for more than 18 years,' he says. His twin, who was struck with the same disease did not fare as well. The visual prosthetics have a lot of bugs to be worked out. Kehoe is their poster boy as a success story. For many others however the devices do not really do much. They are only able to see dots and blurry patches.

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