Need Glasses? Try These Italian Digital Eyes Instead
One of the greatest of human pleasures is the ability to see. It is also one of the most vulnerable. It’s no wonder that we have developed eyelids that move at the speed of a reflex. Early on Mother Nature realized eyes are not only important, but very vulnerable as well. Add to their vulnerability the process of aging and you have a set of precious, but precarious tools. Today we have imperfect remedies like glasses, contact lenses, Lasik and cataract surgery. Tomorrow, for the first time, we may have the perfect remedy for shoddy vision in the digital eye.
As reported in Dezeen Magazine, the Italian research studio MHOX recently unveiled a concept to allow people to switch their eyes for digital ones. The technology that makes this possible is 3D printing. MHOX has branded their idea EYE (Enhance Your Eyes.) EYEs will be able to correct blindness, sharpen and filter sight, and connect to Wi-Fi.
Source: Dezeen Magazine
MHOX has been working on the concept for a year but decided to announce their progress after musician Will.i.am’s much publicized statement calling for a more ethical stance towards 3D printing.
Related Story: Electronic eye trial brings hope for blindness cure
Quoted in Dezeen Magazine, the artist said, “"If you can print a liver or a kidney, god dang it, you're going to be able to print a whole freaking person. Now we're getting into a whole new territory. Moses comes down with the 10 commandments and says 'Thou shalt not...'. He didn't say shit about 3D printing."
Source: Dezeen Magazine
Specifically, MHOX’s vision entails removing the original eye first. Then installing an organic component called a deck. The deck would function as the connection point between the brain and the EYE.
C. Light aim to detect Alzheimer's with AI and eye movements
C. Light Technologies, a neurotechnology and AI company based in Boston, has received funding for a pilot study that will assess changes in eye motion during the earliest stage of Alzheimer's, known as mild cognitive impairment.
C. Light Technologies has partnered with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center for this research. As new therapeutics for Alzheimer’s are introduced to the clinic, this UCSF technology has the potential to provide clinicians a better method to measure disease progression, and ultimately therapeutic efficacy, using C. Light’s novel retinal motion technology.
Eye motion has been used for decades to triage brain health, which is why doctors asks you to “follow my finger” when they want to assess whether you have concussion. In more than 30 years of research, studies have revealed that Alzheimer’s disease patients' eye movements are affected by the disease, though to date, these eye movements have only been measured on a larger scale.
C. Light’s research takes the eye movement tests to a microscopic level for earlier assessments. Clinicians can study and measure eye motion on a scale as small as 1/100th the size of a human hair, which can help them monitor a patient’s disease and treat it more effectively.
The tests are also easy to administer. Patients put their chin in a chinrest and focus on a target for 10 seconds. The test does not require eye dilation, and patients are permitted to blink. A very low-level laser light is shown through the pupil and reflects off the patient’s retina, while a sensitive camera records the cellular-level motion in a high-resolution video. This eye motion is then fed into C. Light’s advanced analytical platform.
“C. Light is creating an entirely new data stream about the status of brain health via the eye,” explains Dr. Christy K. Sheehy, co-founder of C. Light. “Our growing databases and accompanying AI can change the way we monitor and treat neurological disease for future generations. Ultimately, we’re working to increase the longevity and quality of life for our loved ones."
At the moment developing therapeutic treatments for the central nervous system is difficult, with success rates of only 8% to go from conception to market. One reason for this is the lack of tools to measure the progression of diseases that impact the nervous system.
Additionally clinical trials can take a decade to come to fruition because the methods used to assess drug efficacy are inefficient. C. Light believe they can change this.
“Before this year, it had been almost 20 years since an Alzheimer’s drug was brought to market" explains Sheehy. "Part of the reason for this very slow progress is that drug developers haven’t had viable biomarkers that they can use to effectively stratify patients and track disease on a fine scale. The ADDF’s investment will allow us to do that."
C. Light has received the investment from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) through its Diagnostics Accelerator, a collaborative research initiative supported by Bill Gates, the Dolby family, and Jeff Bezos among other donors.
C. Light recently completed its second and final seed round raising $500,000, including the ADDF investment, which brings their total seed funding to more than $3 million. Second round seed funders included: ADDF, the Wisconsin River Business Angels, Abraham Investments, LLC and others.
The ADDF’s Diagnostics Accelerator has made previous investments in more than two dozen world-class research programmes to explore blood, ocular, and genetic biomarkers, as well as technology-based biomarkers to identify the early, subtle changes that happen in people with Alzheimer’s.