Inserted nanotechnology film to simulate defective retinas

The breakthrough depends on the retina’s transduction of light to electrical signals as does the current invention which is an implantable, wireless, light-sensitive, self-powered, and flexible film that is inserted into the retina.It absorbs light energy and stimulates adjacent retinal neurons without any dependence on external power sources. The stimulated neurons trigger activity in the neural retina and ultimately, the occipital cortex of the brain leading to visual perception.However, so far the development has only been tested on the light-sensitive retinae of bryonic chicks in which a neuronal response triggered by light was observed.AMD and retinitis pigmentosa were mentioned as conditions of interest but other projects have also targeted Leber congenital amaurosis and Stargardt disease. The seingly ever-expanding AMD market alone makes a very attractive target for such projects, the other diseases are probably just thin icing on that much larger cake.The abstract of the scientists’ publication describes the structure and fabrication technique: a plasma-polymerized acrylic acid mid-layer was used to achieve covalent conjugation of siconductor nanorods directly onto neuro-adhesive, three-dimensional carbon nanotube surfaces. Photocurrent, photovoltage, and fluorescence lifetime measurents validate efficient charge transfer between the nanorods and the carbon nanotube films.The charge transfer constitutes a ‘current’ that is capable of retinal neuron stimulation, the basis of what can be classified broadly as the perception of ‘light’.By way of contrast, most related works (mostly core parts of bionic eye projects) ploy powered, highly-integrated electronics that are disadvantaged by their need for power, their size and complexity, and often their form-factor (usually inflexible).Those systs also suffer probls of low resolution and long-term stability (the intraocular space is not hardware-friendly [corrosive], is somewhat conductive, and, like most parts of the body, has protective mechanisms designed to deal with ‘invasive’ entities).The researchers claim their new device is compact, capable of higher resolution than previous designs, and is more effective at stimulating neurons. They do acknowledge however that much work needs to be done before more advanced trials can be carried out which means that human trials are still some way off and practical devices even further into the future.The work was funded by the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology, the European Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Send this to a friend