Seeing with the Brain

By Marcia Faye

A groundbreaking artificial vision system that bypasses the optic nerve and instead, transmits image information to a special pair of eyeglasses via a camera and a wireless implant on the visual cortex of the brain, has advanced to the clinical trials stage this year. The National Institutes of Health awarded $2.5 million for the first year of the three-year project developed by a multi-institutional team led by Philip R. Troyk,executive director of the Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering.

The funding is provided as part of the NIH’s The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative NeurotechnologiesÒ Initiative. Troyk, who is also a professor of biomedical engineering at Armour College of Engineering and an affiliate professor at Stuart School of Business, began working on the project in 1983, when he attended his first meeting on neuroprosthesis research at the NIH.