(TMU) – Will people with eyesight loss soon view the world through bionic vision? A new proof-of-concept biomimetic eye suggests the answer is ‘yes.’ Scientists and researchers say a new bionic eye innovation is in development that could not only restore vision but may actually surpass the optical sensitivity of biological eyesight.
The key, according to new research published in the journal Nature, is perovskite, a conductive, light-sensitive material commonly used in solar cells.
Researchers used perovskite to build tiny nanowire sensors occupying a curved aluminum oxide membrane, which collectively act as a 3-dimensional artificial retina. The nanowire sensors, several thousandths of a millimeter in length, simulate the photoreceptor cells found in organic human eyeballs.
Study co-author Zhiyong Fan says that for this proof-of-concept phase, the research team tested the visual information gathered from the bionic eye by using wires to replicate the brain’s visual cortex and then uploading that data to a computer.
Because of the extreme sensitivity of the nanowires, the bionic eye is quicker to react to light (processing 800-nanometer wavelengths) than an actual human eye. Researchers believe it is likely to also be more effective at image resolution and capable of night-vision.
According to Fan, the biomimetic eye will eventually surpass the range of vision of an average biological human eye:
“One more functional difference is that [the] human eye can only see optical wavelength range from 400 to 700 nm [nanometers]. However our current artificial eye can already respond to 200 nm ~ 800 nm wavelength range. In the future, if we choose to use a narrow bandgap semiconductor as photosensing material to build our artificial retina, then infrared light will be visible to the artificial eye.”
Incredibly, Fan added, “A human user of the artificial eye will gain night vision capability.”
The research team included scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Human eyes operate like cameras, utilizing a single lens that affords us visual abilities 100 times better than insects, whose eyesight involves a compound of many tiny lenses translating light. Researchers sought to mimic this natural formula, even simulating the vitreous humor in a biological human eye with a “gel-like ionic liquid” that conducts energy into the artificial retina.
“Biological eyes are arguably the most important sensing organ for most of the animals on this planet. In fact, our brains acquire more than 80 percent of information about our surroundings via our eyes,” the researchers write in their paper.
“Particularly, the domed shape of the retina has the merit of reducing the complexity of optical systems by directly compensating the aberration from the curved focal plane. Mimicking human eyes, artificial vision systems are just as essential in autonomous technologies such as robotics.”
Interfacing with the human visual system still presents a challenge to this technology. Nevertheless, some scientists believe we’re no more than 10 years away from deploying bionic eyes. Combined with Elon Musk’s “neural lace” brain-AI merging technology, which he claims is only 4-5 years off, the 2030s could be a wild decade.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.