Restoration of vision in blind people through a brain implant is on the verge of becoming reality. Recent discoveries at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) show that newly developed high-resolution implants in the visual cortex make it possible to recognize artificially induced shapes and percepts. The findings were published in Science on 3 December.
The idea of stimulating the brain via an implant to generate artificial visual percepts is not new and dates back to the 1970s. However, existing systems are only able to generate a small number of artificial ‘pixels’ at a time. At the NIN, researchers from a team led by Pieter Roelfsema are now using new implant production and implantation technologies, cutting-edge materials engineering, microchip fabrication, and microelectronics, to develop devices that are more stable and durable than previous implants. The first results are very promising.
When electrical stimulation is delivered to the brain