2011 International Conference on Life Science and Technology IPCBEE vol.

3 (2011) © (2011) IACSIT Press, Singapore

Design of electronic eye for visually impaired
Praveenkumar Narayanan
Department of Electronics and Instrumentation Panimalar engineering college Chennai, India Praveen892000@gmail.com
Abstract—Bionic eye is an artificial electronic eye. The main purpose of bionic eye is to provide vision, partially to the visually challenged people by the use of modern day electronic devices like charge coupled device (CCD) camera and bionic eye implant. The implant is a small chip that is surgically implanted behind the retina in the eye ball. It could restore the eye sight of the people who suffer from age related blindness. There are two basic methodologies of bionic eye, multiple unit artificial retina chip system (MARC) and artificial silicon retina system (ASR). However, this paper presents a novel idea of integrating a new approach of bionic eye with the nanogenerator. The nanogenerator is multifaceted when compared to the external batteries providing better power, compactness and higher efficiency. The potential advantage of proposed method is to be able to remove the blindness to a feasible extent by making advance in the present research and improving manufacturing technology. Keywords-bionic eye; artificial eye; nanogenerator applications; electronic eye; Retina damage; eye replacement; blindness

Guhan Senthil
Department of Electronics and Communication Panimalar engineering college Chennai, India guhan.senthil@yahoo.com cells in the retina. The cone cells are responsible for colour recognition of the image viewed and the rod cells distinguish the movement and the contrast of the image on the retina. The retina is connected to a nerve called the optic nerve that connects the brain and the eye. The eye ball is placed in a protective cone shaped cavity in the skull called the orbit or the socket and measures approximately one inch in diameter.



Figure 1. Human eye structure.

Bionic eye is a bio-electronic eye. Bionic eye replaces the functionality of a part or whole of the eye. An external camera is worn on a pair of dark glasses which sends the images in digital form to the radio receiver placed in the eye. The radio receiver is attached to the implant chip on the retina. The implantation is of two types, epiretinal implant and subretinal implant, based on whether the implant is placed on or behind the retina. In our proposed method of bionic eye, a small and a powerful camera powered by nanogenerator, is implanted inside the patient’s eye rather than worn on a pair of glasses. The camera is small and consumes very low power. A. The Human eye : Structure and function The Human eyes operate on the same principle as that of a camera. The Human eye is an organ that reacts to light for several purposes. The Human eye ball is roughly spherical in shape. The important part of the eye responsible for the vision is the retina. The retina is a light sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. Light falling on the eye is focused on to a sheet of light sensitive cells. The photosensitive ganglion cells in the retina that receive the light signals affect the adjustment of the size of the pupil. The ganglion cells are connected to the rods and the cone

Fig. 1 shows interior structure of the human eye in its basic form. The light signals enter the eye through the cornea. The cornea focuses the rays of light falling on eye. The light then passes the pupil and the lens of eye, which leads to the formation of an inverted image on the retina of the eyeball. The retina sends electrical signals to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain interprets the signals sent from the retina and forms the image. B. Basic Eye Disorders The Eye disorders dealt here are listed below: • Retinitis Pigmentosa • Macular Degeneration 1) Retinitis Pigmentosa Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of hereditary diseases of the retina of the eye. RP is a progressive blinding disorder of the outer retina which involves degeneration of neurons [1]. RP may be caused by a breakdown in the function of the rods or the cones in some part of the retina. The retina is so complex that, breakdowns may occur in a variety of ways and so RP is not a single


A large proportion of macular degeneration cases are age. optic nerve. Figure 3. The dot above the year on the penny is the full size of the ASR. Artificial silicon retina Artificial Silicon Retina (ASR) is a solid state biocompatible chip which contains an array of photoreceptors. ASR on a penny. Dry AMD represents at least 80% of all AMD cases and results in atrophy of the Retina. although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. Figure 2. Wet AMD results from the growth of new blood vessels in the choroids. Usually yellowish-white round spots called drusen first appear in a scattered pattern deep in the macula [1]. Fig. The nerves behind the retina function even after the retina degenerates. BIONIC EYE retina in patients suffering with AMD and RP types of conditions. 4 shows ASR on a penny. It contains approximately 3. Figure 4. Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) usually affects people over the age of 50 and there are two distinct types . the ASR is an extremely tiny device. The cone cells are responsible for distinguishing the colours of the image formed on the retina.related and it can make it difficult to read or recognize faces. smaller than the surface of a pencil eraser. The breakdown of cone function may be called Macular Degeneration. It has a diameter of just 2 mm (. The ASR is powered solely by incident light and does not require the use of external wires or batteries. A. 1) Creation of artificial sight A visually challenged person can be made to see light by stimulating the ganglion cells behind the retina by passing electrical signals. Hence.078 inch) and is thinner than a human hair. scientists set out to create a device that could translate images and electrical pulses that could restore vision. As you can see in the picture at the top of this page. in order to produce perceptions in the visual cortex. From their sub retinal location these artificial "photoelectric" signals from the ASR are in a position to induce biological visual signals in the remaining functional retinal cells which may be processed and sent via the optic nerve to the brain. A visual prosthesis or bionic eye is a form of neural prosthesis intended to partially restore lost vision or amplify existing vision. 92 . causing an accumulation of fluid in the macula which leads to retinal damage. Current generated by the device in response to the light stimulation will alter the membrane potential of the overlying neurons and thereby activate the visual system. When surgically implanted under the retina.disorder but a great number of disorders.500 microscopic solar cells called micro photodiodes. In order for an artificial retina to work it has to be small enough so that doctors can transplant it in the eye without damaging the other structures within the eye. 2 shows the schematic diagram of the bionic eye system. a layer beneath the retina. Bionic eye system. 2) Macular Degeneration Macular Degeneration is a medical condition which usually affects older adults. gradually wears out from its lifelong duties of disposing of retinal waste products. It usually takes the form of an externallyworn camera that is attached to a stimulator on the retina. The ASR is a silicon chip 2 mm in diameter and 1/1000 inch in thickness. These micro photodiodes are designed to convert the light energy from images into thousands of tiny electrical impulses to stimulate the remaining functional cells of the Fig.wet AMD and dry AMD. II. called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). 3 shows the ASR methodology in the bionic eye system. in a location known as the sub retinal space. ASR system. and is implanted to replace the functionality of the defective photoreceptor. Fig. each having its own stimulating electrode. the ASR is designed to produce visual signals similar to those produced by the photoreceptor layer. Macular Degeneration is mainly due to the breakdown of the cones in the retina. or in the visual cortex. In macular degeneration.

we replace e the In the prop ex xternal batteries with the n nanogenerators placed on b blood ve essels. Brain electrode pan perceives pa atterns of lig ght which corresponds c to the electrodes stim mulated on the e retinal impla ant. The printed circuit board is connected with s to the retina al implant tha at is placed on n the ultra thin wires nal implant vi ia electrodes is i connected t to the retina. The signal s am wi ill be rectified d and filtered. 1) Workin ng of bionic ey ye implant A bionic eye implan nt is an ext traordinary ceramic c at uses space technology that could re epair a photocell tha malfunctionin ng human eye [2]. The MARC C system system consists The Multi iple unit Artif ficial Retina Chip C c of an external l camera that s sends the ima ages to the sec condary receiving coil l in the form of electric sig gnals. 2) Overal ll system funct tionality posed system of bionic ey ye. accomp panied by a 10 0 kHz am mplitude modu ulated (AM/A ASK) signal which w provides s data fo or setting the configuration c o of the stimulat ting electrodes s. and a cl lock signal. Receiver sends si h a tiny cable e to an ignals through nel implanted on back wall of eye retina a. 6 shows the im MARC system m methodolog gy. The pr rocessor inclu udes the analo og to digital converter and d the video bufferer. A data signal l will be tr ransmitted by y modulating g the mplitude of a higher frequ uency carrier signal. PROPO OSED METHO OD: Figu ure 6. pu ulse width and d frequency. Image for rmation with MA ARC system. The im mages acquired d by the came era are encode ed into data st tream an nd transmitted via RF teleme etry to an intra aocular transc ceiver. III. An external camera acqui ires the image of the viewer r. A DC po ower supply is i obtained by y the g RF signal.10 MHz M carrier si ignal. and a propo osed electrode e array stimulation-cu fabricated on a material suc ch as silicone e rubber.5. Each h part is equi ipped with bo oth a tra ansmitter and a receiver. The pu upil and the fo ocusing lens part p of the ey ye are replaced with a small circular r thin wafer si ized printed ci ircuit bo oard (PCB). The T MARC sy ystem co onsists of two o parts which h separately reside exterior r and in nterior to the eyeball. Fig. T The primary coil c can be driven d wi ith a 0. The su ubsequently derived d rmation signa als will then n be infor sti imulated upon n the retina of f the patient. c The other sch hematic compo onents of the MARC system m are a a power and signal transc ceiver and processing p c chip. urrent driver. The extra acted data is interpreted by y the ele ectrode signa al driver whic ch finally gen nerates approp priate cu urrents for the stimulating el lectrodes in te erms of magni itude. demodula ation. 8 shows the t prosthetic c lens op us sed in the prop posed system o of bionic eye. The retin ptic nerves of f the brain. data a. 5 represents th he schematic diagram of MARC M mage formation n on the retina a in the system. T The optic nerv ve must be at least pa artly functiona al to provide si ight. Micropro ocessor converts data a to an elect tronic signal and transmit ts it to receiver. resents the fu unctional bloc ck diagram of the Fig. Figure 7. This T printed ci ircuit board is s placed insid de the ey ye in between the glass lens ses [5]. The pr rinted circuit b board als so consists of o the transm mitter and th he processor. MARC system m. s i thin. s c connect ting the device es. Titanium ta acks or intrusive material for an electrode e glue may be used to hold the t electrode array a cyanoacrylate in place. and the MAR RC will be cap pable of f extracting power. Camera captures imag ges and sends inform mation to the microprocess sor. Fig. an nd amplification. The or polyimide with ribbon cables and its biocompatibil lity of polyim mide is being studied. The sec condary receiving coil l is mounted in close prox ximity to the cornea. lightweight consistency su uggests its pos ssible use as a none array y. 93 . Funct tional block diagr ram. The T receiver on the rectification of the incoming econdary side extracts four bits of data for fo each pixel from se th he incoming RF R signal and p provides filteri ing. Fig. 7 repr bionic eye syst tem.B. thin silicon. Figure 5.

9 shows the internal structure of the nanogenerator. we can produce enough power supply for small scale devices [4].PCB is responsible for capturing the images of the viewer and processing the captured images into digital signals. Figure 9. Figure 11. A. which consists of the PZT nanofibers placed on the silicon substrate. 10 shows the nanogenerator in a crystal casing. The Bionic devices are being studied and worked upon to do more than replacement of the defective parts. B. 11 shows the printed circuit board where the size of the PCB is compared to that of a 1 cent coin. IV. Bionic Eye is a system that is still under research. By building interconnected arrays containing millions of such nano wires. Prosthetic eye lens. With the upcoming development in the field of nanotechnology. Proposed bionic eye system in the eyeball. Nanogenerator powersupply Nanogenerators are devices that are made up of Zinc oxide nanowires which when bent and released produce electric charges [3]. The digital image signals are then sent via the transmitter through the wires to the retinal implant on the retina. Proposed system functionality The working of the proposed system is explained as following. • There will be no external wiring to the human body. The camera captures the images of the viewer and converts the analog images into digital signals and compresses it. Figure 8. C. Providing power to run the bionic eye implants has been a major challenge for the researchers. 94 . 12 shows the schematic diagram of the proposed system of bionic eye. Nanogenerator structure. Nanogenerators are the future of power supply for small scale devices. The major advantages of the proposed bionic eye system are listed below: • The Patient does not have to carry external batteries along and the lifetime of the power supply is more. • The system becomes more compact and efficient. Printed circuit board. Fig. Fig. Fig. Figure 12. Nanogenerator in a crystal casing. the nanogenerator is used on the blood vessels to produce the sufficient potential to run the camera and the transmitter on the printed circuit board. compressing and transmitting them to the retinal implant. CONCLUSION Figure 10. In the case of the proposed method. The retinal implant is connected to the optic nerve of the brain. Fig. Prosthetic eye The prosthetic eye consists of a printed circuit board (PCB) placed in between the lenses set in the front part of the eye replacing the iris and the lens in the human eye [5]. The brain forms the image with the electrical signals obtained from the retinal implant.

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