LLNL Artificial Retina 2009 R&D 100 Winner

Researchers at five national laboratories, four universities, and an industrial partner have developed the Artificial Retina, a retinal prosthesis that can be used to treat age-related macular degeneration and inherited retinal disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa. The device uses application-specific integrated circuits to transform digital images from a camera into electrical signals in the eye that the brain uses to create a visual image. The system features a video camera and transmitter mounted in sunglasses, a visual processing unit, and a battery pack to power the device that is worn on the belt. The retinal implant receives a signal via wireless transmission, encodes it into specific patterns of stimulation pulses that are conducted through a cable to the electrode array that stimulates the retina. The brain perceives the patterns of light spots corresponding to the stimulated electrodes. In clinical trials, patients with vision loss were able to identify objects, increase mobility and detect movement.

Retinal prosthesis

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.
Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill,
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, N.M.
United States Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
Doheny Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, N.C.
Univ. of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Second Sight Medical Products, Sylmar, Calif.