A recent report conducted by WHO showed that there are 39 million people who are suffering from blindness around the world and another 246 million with poor vision (WHO 2013). As a matter of fact, there is a certain need for a device to restore sight for the blind. Second Sight Centre has succeeded in creating a prosthesis device: the bionic eye Argus II. This device is an auspicious artificial eye, which can bring the hope of sight to the blind. It is considered as an innovation based on the definition by O’Sullivan (2008) as “the process of making changes, large and small, radical and incremental, to products, processes, and services that results in the introduction of something new for the organization that adds value to customers and contributes to the knowledge store of the organization”. This essay will first introduce the origin as well as the mechanism of the bionic eye and then its effectiveness on both individuals and society followed by its criticism.
The bionic eye is not a new invention. The idea of creating a retinal prosthesis has appeared for decades. The origin of this idea remains anonymously but it was in 1998 that Mann, Williams and Bjorg set up Second Sight Medical Products to realizer the theory. The first prosthesis system called Argus I was introduced in 2002. However, this device only provides a very limited sight with only 6 electrodes included so in 2006, Argus II has appeared as the next innovation and offered some hope of sight restoration.
Though this artificial eye seems to be a complicated device, it is quite simple to understand. According to Bionics Institute and the International Journal of Computer Science and Communication, bionic or bio electronic eye is a prosthesis device mimicking retina’s function to help the blind see. It consists of a retinal implant with 60 electrodes, which is clinically inserted into patients’ brain; a camera embedded in the glasses; a video-processing microchip designed in the form of a handheld device and a radio transmitter which is also attached with the glasses and placed above the ear. The mechanism is uncomplicated. Pictures are captured by the camera, encoded and then sent to the processor via a wire to be converted into electrical signals. These electrical impulses are then delivered to the radio transmitter where they are transduced in the form of radio back to the brain, in which the retinal implant placed. The signals travel to the visual centre of the brain in the same ways of which normal eyes do. The optical nerve and the brain will interpret these signals and patients will realize the objects ahead.
Visually impaired people will be the first to be beneficial from this innovation. According to Vadiya, Ingole, Gautam, Gadbail and Gulhane (2010) in the journal about the bionic eye on International Journal of Computer Science and Communication, there are approximately 1.5 million patients with retinitis pigmentosa worldwide and about 700,000 people are diagnosed with...