We have the technology
I wish they would remake the Six Million Dollar Man!
Scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology claim to have developed a robotic eye they say mimics the equivalent human organism and even out-performs it on some measures. Zhiyong Fan and his team developed a hemispherical artificial retina containing light-sensitive nanowires made from perovskite to mimic …
Maybe call it the "Quarter of a Billion Dollar Man" to account for inflation.
More interestingly, what is the liquid metal in the "wires"? Mercury? Gallium? Surely not Rubidium! The design is interesting, but how are they proposing to interface it with the rest of the brain? I think I'd prefer an external camera with a supercomputer that whispers in my ear: E.g. "Just to the right of you there's a really cute guy, they look interested." or "The coffee cup is on the table two inches in front of your middle finger." I think I could adapt to that, without having dangerous metals in my skull.
"I think I'd prefer an external camera with a supercomputer that whispers in my ear: E.g. "Just to the right of you there's a really cute guy, they look interested." or "The coffee cup is on the table two inches in front of your middle finger." I think I could adapt to that, without having dangerous metals in my skull."
You might enjoy this Wired article from almost 2 decades ago.
"A HALF CENTURY OF ARTIFICIAL-SIGHT RESEARCH HAS SUCCEEDED. AND NOW THIS BLIND MAN CAN SEE."
The brain interface part is the only essential new element. You can do the rest with a camera mounted on a headband and a wearable computer. It's just the brain interface is really hard to engineer.
The only convenience nature has given us in that task is that the visual cortex is easily accessible to surgeons. Once a suitable device makes it out of the laboratory and into regular the use, the actual installation is practically a routine procedure already. Just remove a section of skull at the back, carefully pull aside a membrane, and there's your target ready for probing. It's not entirely safe, but it's as safe as neurosurgery gets.
See the incredibly beautiful study of Hecht, Shlaer, and Pirenne (1942) Energy, quanta and vision. J. Gen. Physiol. 20 819-840. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2142545/ Dark adapted human rod cells require between 5 and 8 quanta on average to produce a neural signal. After the effects of absorption by parts of the eye between the outside world and the retina this corresponds to an ability of the humans tested to detect between 54 and 148 quanta (i.e. that's all you need to see a light under optimal conditions - the integration time is about 100ms, so all the quanta have to arrive within 100ms for optimal performance).
Here is the relevant section of the paper's abstract:
"With these three corrections, the range of 54 to 148 quanta at the cornea becomes as an upper limit 5 to 14 quanta actually absorbed by the retinal rods. 3. This small number of quanta, in comparison with the large number of rods (500) involved, precludes any significant two quantum absorptions per rod, and means that in order to produce a visual effect, one quantum must be absorbed by each of 5 to 14 rods in the retina. 4. Because this number of individual events is so small, it may be derived from an independent statistical study of the relation between the intensity of a light flash and the frequency with which it is seen. Such experiments give values of 5 to 8 for the number of critical events involved at the threshold of vision."
A Vision Scientist.
Just to clarify my summary of the experiment, each rod only needs a single photon to initiate the signalling cascade, but we need between 5 and 8 rods to be activated before we have a conscious experience of a flash. The human visual system is pretty remarkable.
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