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A microchip developed to help restore vision to the blind

This is Science Today. A microchip developed by an electrical engineer at the University of California, Santa Cruz is helping restore vision to the blind. Wentai Liu says their artificial retina is being used in patients enrolled in a clinical trial and is composed of an implanted microchip that stimulates the neurons to the retina and relays visual signals that are transmitted to the chip from a tiny video camera outfitted on a pair of sunglasses.

Liu:     To this day, people still say it's kind of like science fiction...imagine you can make people gain eyesight and with such a small device.

Narrator:        The device is similar to cochlear implants for the deaf, in that it stimulates the brain.

Liu:     The brain is quite adaptive, so that's amazing that nature create this way, so once the brain realizes that the original photosensor is not there and it realizes it's a new device being put in, so it try to adapt to it to live with and using it as a new sensor device.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.