Technology - how will it work?

The Monash Vision direct to brain bionic eye system will combine state of the art digital and biomedical technology with consumer-friendly glasses.

Diagram illustrating the four key components of the Monash Vision direct to brain bionic eye system
  1. Outside glasses – digital camera
  2. Inside glasses – eye movement sensor will direct the camera
  3. Side of glasses – digital processor and wireless transmitter
  4. Brain implant – small implant under the skull will receive wireless signals and directly stimulate the brain’s visual cortex

A digital camera embedded in the glasses will capture images. As your head turns, the glasses, of course, turn with you. Cutting edge digital processors will modify the images captured by the camera; a wireless transmitter will then present the image that you are "looking at" to a chip that has been implanted at the back of the brain. The chip will then directly stimulate the visual cortex of the brain with electrical signals using an array of micro-sized electrodes -the brain will learn to interpret these signals as sight.

Will it destroy the areas of natural sight I still have?

With many conditions, patients gradually lose sight in some areas of their visual field but not others. As the MVG approach does not require eye surgery, we believe that existing sight will be retained and supplemented with the direct to brain bionic eye*.

The exact effectiveness of the restored sight will be determined through research and development programs. This is likely to vary strongly between patients depending on their medical history and individual conditions.

How will the brain implant be inserted?

Using standard neurosurgery techniques, a small area of the skull will be temporarily removed. A sterile, biologically inert chip will be placed directly on the surface of the visual cortex of the brain. The small area of the skull will then be replaced and eventually heal, providing a natural barrier to protect against infection*.

Will the bionic eye work for me?

The direct to brain bionic eye is being developed for people of all ages with vision impairment caused by a number of conditions, including glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy*.

It may also be able to help people who have damaged optic nerves.

What happens when I get older?

The system will be designed to enable continual external adjustment by your clinician, without the need for further surgery. As you get older and residual natural vision continues to deteriorate, the camera and digital processor will be adjusted to compensate. You will continue to use what remains of your natural vision, with the bionic eye supplementing vision in those areas that are deteriorating.*.

MVG Technical Advancements and Tools


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Treating progressive blindness

The direct to brain bionic eye will supplement remaining natural vision.

Digital processing

Algorithms will transform the camera image data to a pattern that transmits to micro-sized electrodes on the brain implant with an appropriate voltage, current and timing to stimulate the visual cortex of the brain.