Silicon Chip Performs Like Eye (10/20/2006)
Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University have developed a silicon based chip
that performs like a real eye by copying its neural circuitry.
The new device, created by Kareem Zaghloul and Kwabena Boahen is all self contained and doesn't require an external
computer and camera to function. The device mimics the human retina by filtering visual data and only relaying the
information needed by the brain.
The chip, which measures 3.5 x 3.3 millimeters, also contains 5760 silicon phototransistors which collect
light similar to a retina. These are connected to 3600 transistors which process the light and pass it on to
the brain, like nerve cells. In total there are 13 different type of transistors each designed to replicate
a different type of nerve cell.
The device is designed simulate different aspects of the eye. It can adjust to variations in light intensity and
contrast. It also mimics a real eye by only transmitting new information when the picture the eye see's changes.
This saves processing and transmission power.
Biologists believe that the eyes and the optic nerve use a significant amount of energy to function properly, mimicking
this in hardware has also been a significant problem. Even the smallest camera's use a lot of power
when operated for long periods. Zaghloul and Boahen are currently concentrating on reducing the power needs as well
as the size.
At this time no clinical trials are scheduled, though they hope they will be conducted soon.
1/10/2007 1:52:21 PM MST
is there a possibility of replacing a whole eye? my was enucleated due to injury. is there any research being done for people missing an eye?
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