A bionic retina can restore some eyesight for people with degenerative eye disease and may even help children who are born blind. Three patients have been implanted with the device, which is one third the size of a contact lens.
The implanted retina does not process light directly. Patients are fitted with a pair of glasses mounted with a video camera, which transmits images to a wireless receiver. The receiver relays the signal to the bionic chip, where the pattern of the original image is re-created by lighting up appropriate electrodes. The tiny camera has zoom features and you can adjust colors.
With just 16 electrodes, the chip cannot achieve the sharpness of normal vision. Eventually, a version with up to 1,000 electrodes will be used to produce sharper images and a wider field of vision. [Via Wired News]