Researchers from visual prosthetics company Second Second Sight Medical Products have created a new bionic eye system that sends electrical signals to the wearer’s brain via an implant, allowing them to “see” again.
Future iterations could one day not only allow blind people to perceive depth, but they could even give wearers a way to see in the infrared spectrum, according to Engadget.
The Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis System, built by Second Sight, consists of a small camera attached to a pair of glasses. The camera converts what it captures into electrical signals, which are then sent to the wearer’s brain to create a perceived image.
The implant requires an overnight hospital stay plus recovery time. But once it’s in place, it can stimulate the wearer’s visual cortex to create a spatial map, effectively allowing the wearer to “see” a low-res image.
The researchers are already thinking ahead, though, to “Predator”-style thermal imaging.
“It would be good for them to have that as kind of a mode perhaps, in which they could switch to thermal imaging,” Second Sight CEO Will McGuire told Engadget.
“And they can identify where people are in the room, day or night, more easily,” he added. “They could maybe identify the hot part of a stove or cup of coffee, things like that.”
READ MORE: Tomorrow’s bionic eyes will have ‘Predator’ vision [Engadget]
More on bionic vision: This Experimental Bionic Eye Could Help The Blind See