[tabi] Fw: Monash researchers in race to restore sight

  • From: "Dan Orange" <dorange@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 07:41:44 -0500

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Lappland 
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; 
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 11:27 AM
Subject: Monash researchers in race to restore sight

Monash researchers in race to restore sight.
17 December 2009.
Sight could be restored to hundreds of thousands of people around the world
with the invention of a bionic eye, developed by Victorian researchers led 
by a
team of scientists from Monash University.

The project will develop a human implant within four years.
The Monash based team, made up of engineering and computer scientists,
together with a team of medical researchers from the Department of 
Physiology and
Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, and Victorian companies Grey Innovation and 
will begin work immediately on the $8 million dollar project.

The funding was announced by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science
and Research, Senator Kim Carr and is one of two projects to receive support
under the Australian Research Council's Research in Bionic Vision Science 
Technology Initiative, which was developed in response to the Australia 2020

The team aims to develop a device that is implanted directly on the region
of the brain that processes vision signals (the visual cortex). This will
provide treatment for the majority of forms of blindness, including partial

Head of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University
Professor Arthur Lowery said the funding will allow the team to take their
concept to the next level.

"We will develop a device that stimulates the brain using hundreds of
electrodes. This electrode array can be placed conveniently on the surface
of the brain, so the implant is not overly intrusive - a relatively simple 
safe procedure," Professor Lowery said.

"The electrodes stimulate the vision areas of the brain mimicking the
stimulation they would normally receive through the optic pathway. An
advantage of this approach is that it bypasses damaged or dead parts of the 
pathway including the retina and optic nerve. This means that it can cure up 
to 90
per cent of cases of blindness.

"Also, because the brain has a larger surface area than the retina it is
possible to get a much higher resolution image than with retinal implants.
It does not destroy the patient's residual vision, it enhances it," 
Lowery said.

Monash University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor,
Research Professor Edwina Cornish said the successful finding bid reflects
on the university's expertise in bioengineering

"We are deligted to have been given the financial backing to develop this
concept with our partners," Professor Cornish said.

The team includes Director of Neurosurgery at the Alfred, Professor Jeffrey
Rosenfeld, world renowned visual pathways expert Professor Marcello Rosa,
founder of micro-manufacturing company MiniFab Dr Erol Harvey, Former CEO of
Dynamic Hearing Elaine Saunders, mechanical and aerospace Engineer Professor
James Friend and head of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering
Professor Arthur Lowery.

Source URL:

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