We write about plenty of implants and bionic eyes, but most of them are still in development or are years away. Not so with this sub-retinal chip out of Germany — it's already given sight back to three individuals who have a previously incurable form of blindness.
It's not perfect, but the trio of patients who have received the implant went from being completely blind to being able to "identify and find objects placed on a table in front of [them], as well as walking around a room independently and approaching people, reading a clock face and differentiating seven shades of gray," according to a researcher on the project.
Right now, the implant only works on those who suffer from retinal dystrophy, a hereditary form of blindness that causes the steady decay of the eye's light receptors. In effect, the German-made implant replaces these receptors and lets the eye do the processing its used to, though the setup also includes a cable that goes from the implant to outside of the head, to a transmitter and power supply — so it's not exactly stealthy. Still, just like a hearing aid's bulk is a small price to pay, we imagine it's much the same here.
It's also an interesting study of what an eye implant looks like with today's technology. See a picture of the setup below (click it to make it larger).