So maybe they won’t be quite ready to join the X-Men, but a new laser based technology is under development with the hope to eventually fully prevent age-related loss of sight.
The new “Bio-Retina” will involve a relatively simple 30-minute surgery, and when combined with a laser bearing, self powered pair of glasses it promises to allow the visually impaired to read, see (but still not recognize) their grandchildren’s faces, and follow all the complex plot points of “Murder She Wrote” and “Days of Our Lives.”
By firing a low-powered laser into the retina, hundreds of implanted electrodes can produce a 576-pixel grayscale image straight to the patient’s visual cortex.
While this technology is amazing, the explanation can be slightly misleading. For starters, calling something “laser-vision” sounds way cooler than it actually is, and while I’d love to see a crop of elderly superheroes rising from the darkness (note to self, movie idea: “The Old As Fuck Knight Rises”), the lasers in use are weaker than even a household laser pointer.
Also, while a 576-pixel black-and-white image is certainly better than no vision at all, compare it to the amount of pixels in a standard 1080p television, clocking in at an impressive 2,073,600 pixels. Looking through a 576 pixel lens is even lower quality than a drug-store disposable camera. To put it in perspective, here’s an image that carries exactly 576 pixels.
Stretched out to a full field of view, this image will be as blurry as trying to watch a high quality porno on a dial-up connection.
This technology is an amazing thing, and I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how incredible it would feel to regain one’s sight. However, the technology still has a long way to go before you can count on Grandpa to drive to the grocery store on his own without going on a homicidal GTA-esque vehicular rampage.
- [via Popsci]