For the first time in the history of medicine, researchers have projected Braille directly into the retina of blind people, allowing him to read the text visually, with almost 90% accuracy. Headset Argus II, developed by scientists from Second Sight, will revolutionize the treatment of patients with degenerative eye diseases such as Retinitis Pigmentosa.
"The principle of operation of the device is similar to a cochlear implant, to the eyes," - said Thomas Lauritz, lead author of the study.
As told Lauritz, a cochlear implant performs the functions of the dead hair cells in the inner ear, which perceive acoustic signals, while the Argus II device takes over the functions of the photoreceptors, the cells that perceive light.
The principle of operation is as follows: Lauritz and his team implanted electrode array 10x6 directly to the patient’s retina, which are connected to a tiny video camera built into glasses. The system also comprises a wearable microcomputer which processes video and adjusts the current sent to the electrodes in real time.
Braille is perfectly displayed on a grid size of 10x6, because every character in it is coded dots arranged on a grid size of 3x4.
The first results are extremely pleased with the scientists. "In this particular project in Braille," - says Lauritz - "we were able to increase your reading speed up to 20 times."
Argus II device is already available in Europe.
"We continue to work to improve future versions of this device," - he said.