Last week’s news involved mice playing a crucial role in paving a path towards curing paralysis. This week’s MVP is sheep! You read that right – a team of Australian researchers at The University of Sydney implanted bionic eyes in a flock of sheep that resulted in exceptionally sharp eyesight.
As part of a medical trial, these sheep spent three months with artificial bionic eyes. The main purpose of this trial was to see if this bionic eye, named Phoenix 99, caused any physical reactions in the sheep. Since the bionic eye was well tolerated, the team will apply for approval to perform clinical trials on humans next.
The Phoenix 99 is wirelessly linked to a small camera attached to glasses. This camera captures the visual scene in front of the wearer, converts them into electric signals and sends them to the brain where the signals are converted into a vision of the scene.
The bionic eye market is expected to be $426 million by 2028 and technologies like Phoenix 99 will certainly contribute to make bionic eyes more common place and affordable in the future. Today, there are 2.2 billion people around the world who have near or distance visual impairment.
Read the published paper in Biomaterials and watch the video below for more details on Phoenix 99 and this trial with sheep.