Bionic eye invented that mimics the functions of the present and is charged by light
Researchers have created a spherical vision sensor that mimics the structure of the human eye and can use sunlight as an energy source.
The development of a team of scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology consists of a focusing lens and an analog of the retina, which is a hemispherical membrane of porous alumina with many embedded nanowires.
These wires are light sensitive and made from perovskite, which is commonly used in solar panels. They perform the same function as the nerve cells in the human eye, transmitting electrical signals when light hits them..
The diameter of the device is 2 cm and it even has an analog of the vitreous body, the role of which is played by an ionic liquid between the lens and the membrane. Indium is additionally used to improve the electrical contact, and to align the matrix socket wire uses silicone polymer.
In addition to the fact that the structure of the sensor is close to the structure living eye, its sensitivity even surpasses the human organ of vision, since it is practically the same for the entire spectrum of visible light. Nanowires are denser than cellular photoreceptors, and their response time is shorter.
However, the current model of the bionic eye cannot yet serve as an effective replacement organ, because with the width of the photosensitive zone of 2 cm, the resolution is only 100 pixels, which is much lower than the level required for obtaining a distinguishable image.
The diagonal viewing angle is also worse (100 degrees instead of 150) and the sensor still needs an external power supply, but the developers are already upgrading the device to make the nanowires function like small solar cells. This should make it completely self-contained..
Nevertheless, even despite the significant drawbacks and high cost of manufacturing such a bionic eye, it significantly surpasses other existing prostheses and, with proper refinement, can lead to the creation of a full-fledged implant for restoring vision..
In addition to artificial eyes, researchers contact lenses are also improved. We previously reported on the creation of working prototypes contact lenses with integrated augmented reality technology.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, stillnessinthestorm