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Implanted Chip 'allows Blind People to Detect Objects'

By BBC News

November 3, 2010

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A man with an inherited form of blindness has been able to identify letters and a clock face using a pioneering implant, researchers say.

The chip allows a patient to detect objects with their eyes, unlike a rival approach that uses an external camera.

Details of the work are in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Professor Eberhart Zrenner, of Germany's University of Tuebingen, and colleagues at private company Retina Implant AG initially tested their sub-retinal chip on 11 people.

Some noticed no improvement as their condition was too advanced to benefit from the implant, but a majority were able to pick out bright objects, Prof Zrenner told the BBC.

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