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Artificial retina restores vision, communicates with the brain in its language

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Neuroscientist Shelia Nirenberg of Cornell University gave a TEDMED talk explaining a new prosthetic eye system that speaks the same language as the brain and is able to produce far more accurate results than standard methods.

TEDMED prosthetic eye
TEDMED prosthetic eye

The best way to communicate with someone is undoubtedly to speak in the same language, and that's exactly what a new prosthetic eye (which we saw last year) is designed to do in people with some retinal diseases. Neuroscientist Shelia Nirenberg of Cornell University explained her solution at a TEDMED talk recently, saying that by understanding and using the brain's code, sent in the form of electrical signals, her prosthetic eye produced far more accurate images (when tested in blind mice) than other prosthetic solutions. Her encoder and transducer are able to mimic photoreceptor cells to pick up the image, and then hook into the brain by sending code that it is accustomed to receiving. Beyond vision, Nirenberg says that they should be able to find other codes to "speak" with the brain to address problems like deafness and motor disorders.