Researchers at the University of Oxford have successfully created first-ever artificial retina using soft synthetic tissue. This new synthetic, double-layered retina is made from combination of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and light-sensitive proteins, and is designed to replicate the functionality of the human retina to create a grey scale image.
Reporting in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers say that “unlike existing artificial retinal implants, the cell-cultures are created from natural, biodegradable materials”, which makes the implant less invasive than a mechanical device, and less likely to have an adverse reaction on the body. The researchers are now working on to expand the device’s ability to recognize different colors and potentially even shapes and symbols. If this goes well, they hope to expand their trial on animals and even on humans.