News Items - Robotic Eye
- Wednesday August 9, 2000:
Canadian Researchers to Commercialize a Robotic Eye
By Julie Remy
- TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian
researchers unveiled a robotic eye on Wednesday that does
everything a natural, healthy eye does, except offer the
gift of sight.
The artificial eye is aimed at providing a cosmetic solution
to patients who have lost an eye to disease or an accident, Max Meng,
director of the University
of Alberta's advanced robotics laboratory, told Reuters.
"A prosthetic eye can be cosmetically made as real
as possible. But as soon as you try to get eye contact,
the person looking at you will immediately realize that
you are wearing an eye implant. It's embarrassing,''
"Patients always wish their eye implant can move,
so we are trying to answer that,'' he added.
The artificial eye moves according to signals from the
brain picked up via electrodes on each side of the head,
with the robotic eye following each movement of the natural
eye, Meng explained.
Meng expects the artificial eye to be on the market in
a couple of years, but said some details still need to
"Currently, we are using a very tiny motor to drive
the artificial eye, but that generates some heat and is
sometimes a little bit noisy,'' he said.
The final product may be able to eliminate the need for
external electrodes, he said, with brain signals picked
up from inside the eye socket, a possibility that could
be even more discreet.
The research was partially funded by Edmonton's Misericordia
Hospital, one of the few hospitals in Canada performing
research into advanced prosthetic technology such as artificial
noses, ears and eyes.
The results of the testing will be presented during an
international robotics conference in Japan in October,
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