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Mimicking the ganglion cell action potential may boost advances in development of retinal prosthetic devices

Neuroscientists based at Weill Medical College, Cornell University claim to have dramatically improved vision with a prosthetic device that converts a visual input into a pattern of action potentials that correlate to particular images. The research, presented in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that an “encoder” and “transducer” device may be capable of translating the visual input of photoreceptors into the electrical pattern of pulses generated by the ganglion cells. The combination of encoder and transducer is proposed to allow for more accurate image formation in the brain. If reproducible in human trials, the approach may significantly alter the prosthetics industry for visual impairment.