Bionic eye could be restoring sight as early as 2013

After over a decade of work, a group of researchers at Bionic Vision Australia have created a prototype of a surgically inserted eye implant that could see real-world applications in as little as three years.

To call it a "bionic eye" really only addresses part of it, as the entire setup involves the implant, a pair of glasses with a camera, and a tiny processor you keep in your pocket. The camera feeds footage to the processor, which interprets the sensory information and then wirelessly sends images to the eye implant, which in turn stimulates the neurons of the retina to translate that visual data and encourage your brain to create images from it.

The Australian government has invested nearly $40 million in the technology, and the country's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, hails it as "one of the most important medical advances we see in our lifetime," commenting that it "has the potential to restore sight to thousands of people in Australia and across the world."

It won't offer perfect version, though it will allow those who have lost their vision to see images recreated from light. Bionic Vision Australia released a video to show what this might look like when showing off an earlier prototype of its technology (pictured above). Check it all out below.

Bionic Vision Australia, via PhysOrg