Melbourne Engineering: Future vision for Australia’s bionic eye

With the aid of a $1-million grant from the federal government, the bionic eye project is about to take a big leap forward, with trials moving from the laboratory into the home.

Previously trials that were conducted in hospital involved participants wearing a vision processor (laptop) that was placed in a backpack. The new vision processors are the size of an iPod or mobile phone and fit easily into a pocket. Participants also wear glasses that contain an implanted camera.

University of Melbourne Engineering School
Study engineering at Melbourne

In addition to being lighter and more portable the new bionic eye has an increased number of electrodes, from 22 to 44, which will widen the field of vision.

Professor of electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Melbourne and Bionic Vision Australia’s Director Tony Burkitt has spoken to channel 7 news.

Professor Burkitt said “We’re very very excited about this next phase with the increased number of electrodes and the smaller size. We really believe this will provide enormous benefit.”

About the Melbourne Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering was established in 1947 as part of the Melbourne School of Engineering, which has been offering degrees at the University of Melbourne since 1889. Today the department is a vibrant community of excellent faculty staff and research fellows attracting high quality postgraduate and undergraduate students. The department is also widely recognised for its excellence in research and teaching, and for being well connected with key industry partners.

The department has exciting research programs funded by partnerships with Federal and State Governments as well as industry partners targeting significant problems faced in the society—development of bionic implants, energy efficient telecommunications, sensor networks for irrigation and water resource management, and ultra-broadband wireless and optical communications.

The department is home to four research labs in its key discipline strengths: Control and Signal Processing, Communications and Networks, NeuroEngineering and Photonics and Electronics Lab.

The department’s research staff and students are major contributors to
  • Bionic Vision Australia
  • Centre for Energy Efficient Telecommunication
  • Centre for Neural Engineering
  • Institute for Broadband Enabled Society


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