Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Camera for the Eye

PostedMarch 8, 2009

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Randy Atkins:  Engineers are already using a camera mounted on eyeglasses to bypass diseased eye cells and help the blind regain some vision.  But Michelle Hauer, a University of Southern California engineer, says that can be awkward.

Michelle Hauer:  We want to move the camera inside of the eye so that images they acquire move more naturally with their eye movements.

Randy Atkins:  She's working on what may become the world's smallest camera.

Michelle Hauer:  About a third the size of a Tic Tac.

Randy Atkins:  USC researchers hope to insert it in the place of a natural eye lens using common surgical techniques.  It won't provide high resolution, but…

Michelle Hauer:  How many pixels does a person who's blind really need to start being functional so that they can navigate and recognize faces?  It's a much smaller number than you would think.

Randy Atkins:  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.