Computable Minds -
En español: El ojo biónico

The bionic eye

Posted on: Feb, 1st 2011
Bionic eye
Through the optical nerves, our eyes are connected to the visual cortex or cortex V1 located in the back part of the brain. If we decode the way in that the retinas of our eyes encode the information and how is interpreted after by the brain, we could connect a cable on the rear part of the head of a person to recreate in the brain an alternative reality. This seems take it from the script of Matrix, have already done to return the vision the blinds.

Find out how send the information the retina to the brain isn't easy. The optical nerve is a bottleneck, and due to that, it's knows that this information must be sended encoded, because it have only a million of fibers to transmit the information of 100 millions of rods and 7 millions of cones (the photoreceptors of the retina), so that the only solution is that the information that is transmited to the brain it be preprocessed inside of the eye to send only the important information to the brain. Edge detection, patterns, contrasts, relative colors and other algorithms, are do it in the retina before of send the information by the optical nerve.

William H. Dobelle, deceased in 2004, was the first that, using de Dobelle eye, returned partially the vision to several voluntary persons. The Dobelle eye consist in a camara that send the images to something as a laptop computer. There, is processed and sended to the cortex V1 of the pacient, through an electrodes previously implanted in the brain. The software of artificial intelligence that use the computer have a phase of training, in that must learn to generate the appropriate impulses from those that see the patient. In this way it's achieved that a person totally blind can see several bright spots that form the silhouettes of the objects and the persons that have in front. After the death of the Dr. Dobelle a team of investigation continues it's development with public funds.

Actually the majority of the investigations of this type are centered in created artificial retinas that stimulate the cells of the retina through photoreceptors that receives the information from a camera. This tecnique doesn't jump the stage of preprocessing of the retina but although that in this way several kinds of blindness can be cured, it can't cure those persons that have the optical nerve damaged. For that, also there are a lot of scientifics that follow the steps of the Dr. Dobelle as the Dr. Mohamad Swan that have invented a cortical implant that using radio frequency avoids that the pacient have to wear a cable that go out from the brain. Also there are to highlight the works of the Institute of Technology of Illinois, that are developing implants that, in difference to others, are introduced inside of the brain.

In the case that you be blind or you will go blind. Would you implant a cable in the brain to see? ¿And for enter in the Matrix?

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En español: El ojo biónico
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