Scientists in the US used a camera connected to a brain implant to help a blind person see again, NPR reported.
The former teacher who had been blind for 16 years had the device implanted in her brain with no disruptions to brain activity or other health complications, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Researchers from both Spain and the US advanced what they call “a long-held dream of scientists” to give a basic form of sight to blind people by sending information directly to the brain’s visual cortex.
“These results are very exciting because they demonstrate both safety and efficacy,” said Eduardo Fernández of Miguel Hernández University in a statement.
“We have taken a significant step forward, showing the potential of these types of devices to restore functional vision for people who have lost their vision.”
After a training period, the test subject was able to decipher basic visual information fed from a camera on a pair of glasses directly to her brain.
The effect of the device was somewhat limited; the test subject could not identify all the letters of the alphabet.
Her brain implant was inserted through a “minicraniotomy” in which researchers made a 1.5 inch hole in the subject’s skull.
A clinical trial related to the study is scheduled to continue through May of 2024.