Zhiyong Fan, a researcher at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, spoke about a breakthrough in the development of an artificial analogue of the human retina. He and his colleagues succeeded in creating a promising design based on a combination of perovskite and nanowire sensors, which mimics the device of a real eye. The prototype has already been created, but there are still problems with it, the main one of which is how to connect it to the human brain.
Chinese scientists have used perovskite, a highly light-sensitive material, to create a set of point sensors. Each of them has a separate nano-sized wire that mimics a nerve. All sensors are located on a thin aluminum substrate that is curved for better light reception. When photons hit the plate, a series of electrical impulses are generated, creating a characteristic pattern that is recognized as an image.
One sq. cm of artificial retina contains 460 million of these sensors, versus about 10 million in the living retina. This allows you to dramatically increase visual sensitivity, make your eyesight unusually sharp. The sensors are so sensitive that they respond to 800 nanometer waves, which are outside the visible spectrum, in the infrared region. This does not turn the bionic eye into a thermal imager, but gives its wearer the ability to navigate in complete darkness.
As Zhiyong Fan clarifies, so far there is only an experimental prototype of an artificial retina, which cannot be used to assess the full potential of the technology. For example, if we introduce AI into the system for image analysis, then the wearer of the eye will see not only the smallest details, but also immediately receive additional information about them. Scientists hope to achieve a practical application of their development within a decade.