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We can rebuild you

Today, micro- and nanotechnologies are getting more powerful with a growing list of applications including bio-hybrid devices – tiny devices in or attached to our bodies can act as cleaners and nursemaids, reporting in real-time the state of our health. Engineers and roboticists are working with the likes of biologists, surgeons and optics specialists to develop life-like bio-electro-mechanical limbs and implants to replace worn out or missing body parts. Related work on precision instruments is pushing the boundaries on computer- or robotic-assisted surgery. Could it be the end of shaky scalpels and invasive surgeries? Let’s hope so.

See for yourself!

The human retina is the most amazing camera lense ever made. Image sensor technology could only wish to reproduce that kind of resolution and frame rate speed. Well, thanks to developments in European-funded research, technology is giving biology a run for its money.

Developments in neuromorphic 'silicon retina' sensors, which mimic the biological retina's information processing capability are helping to bring artifical vision up to speed on what biology does, well, naturally. But applications for this technology are limited by their low quantum efficiency and their inability to combine high-quality spatial and temporal processing on the same chip.

The EU-backed Seebetter project is keen to find solutions to these technical challenges. In so doing, they stand to revolutionise artificial vision by providing fast, low-power sensors with biology's superior local gain control and spatio-temporal processing. Such sensors would find immediate and wide application in industry, and provide natural vision prostheses for the blind. That would be something definitely worth seeing.