The crude, low-res image isn't good enough to allow a person to read or drive. Not yet. But the technology will get better.
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Currently, one of the challenges is powering the chips in the brain. The amount of processing power and the number of electrodes involved is a lot more than for a cochlear implant, used for hearing, because the amount of information is so much larger. An implant to the ear requires about 15 electrodes while the visual cortex needs 600.
The technique is not the only one being developed to help blind people see. California-based Second Sight are developing an artificial retina that involves electrodes implanted directly into the eye itself.
Photo: The microchip for the bionic eye.
Credit: Monash University