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Scientists Develop First Bionic Eyes That Provide Enhanced Vision, Can View the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Nov 15, 2016 04:40 AM EST

Scientists have unraveled the first pair of bionic eyes that can finally remedy at least 285 million people worldwide with visual impairments. This marks the first of major steps in fully repairing eyesight with the vast number of treatments and innovations out there.

The bionic eye -- then the stuff of science fiction -- works as a retinal prosthesis system. It bridges the gap between the light that enters the eye and the optic nerve. This communicates images to the brain so we can determine what we see. 

The only US FDA-approved bionic eyes so far are the Argus II. These are from a company called Second Sight. According to  Futurism, the eyes work using a camera integrated to a pair of eyeglasses. An implant is placed on the surface of the eye that taps into the nerve. The software is still in its beginning stages, however, and can only help users see shadows and outlines of figures.

Melbourne is also coming with diamond-electrode bionic eyes that may even be able to perceive expressions and read very large prints. The scientists behind this remarkable feat are still fixing the device for testing.

Regardless, the bionic eye technologies we have for now do not fully restore eyesight. However, their progress shows that we are very much getting there. 

Still, scientists want to stretch the limits further. If bionic eyes are becoming a reality, then humans are growing close to becoming superhuman. It's all in how we perceive light.

It can be remembered that light appears in different wavelengths. Humans can only see the visible spectrum made of light, but there are countless more that our eyes cannot see. If a bionic eye is made to see the entire electromagnetic spectrum, then we can see from radio waves to gamma waves. We can see "heat," identify gases, and even look through walls.

People right now are able to zoom in and out of their field of vision and even record what they see. Not only is this synced with Wi-Fi, but it is also an actual reality. This means stuff of science fiction are really on the threshold between fiction and reality. 

Bionic eyes -- and limbs -- can also have a wide variety of uses in different fields. Soldiers can detect mines in a dangerous field, security personnel can easily increase surveillance options without hindering passengers, and scientists can study microbes without equipment.

Granted, it may take decades before getting bionic eyes that are ideal for use. However, the developments in the field make up for very interesting scenarios. 

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