A Game Designed to Help Solve Eye Problems

Diplopia – A VR Game to Help Strabismus and Amblyopia is exactly what it sounds like. This sounds like a great gaming project! The game is meant to help people who have some eye issues strengthen their weak eye to restore (near) perfect control over their stereo-vision.

You can contribute to the project at IndieGogo (only 6 days left!).

From the developer:

Strabismus, better known as crossed eye, is present in about 4% of children. In those affected both eyes do not line up properly causing diplopia (double vision), amblyopia (lazy eye), and loss of vision in one or both eyes. Since the brain receives conflicting information from the two eyes it often learns to disregard the weaker of the two, suppressing it. This leads to a loss of depth perception and 3D vision.

Contribute now at Indiegogo.
Find out more at the official website.

Scratched Lenses for Clearer Vision

As we age our eyes start to degrade and often require glasses to correct vision issues. For many people bifocals are an imperfect solution. Some new research suggests that glasses of the future will be able to keep everything in focus at the same time by putting fine scratches on the lenses.

It involves engraving the surface of a standard lens with a grid of 25 near-circular structures each 2 millimetres across and containing two concentric rings. The engraved rings are just a few hundred micrometres wide and a micrometre deep. “The exact number and size of the sets will change from one lens to another,” depending on its size and shape, says Zalevsky.

The rings shift the phase of the light waves passing through the lens, leading to patterns of both constructive and destructive interference. Using a computer model to calculate how changes in the diameter and position of the rings alter the pattern, Zalevsky came up with a design that creates a channel of constructive interference perpendicular to the lens through each of the 25 structures. Within these channels, light from both near and distant objects is in perfect focus.

Read more at New Scientist.

Stem Cells Can Reverse Blindness

This looks promising: new research has proven that in some cases it is possible to use stem cells to reverse blindness.

In the study, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers took a small number of stem cells from a patient’s healthy eye, multiplied them in the lab and placed them into the burned eye, where they were able to grow new corneal tissue to replace what had been damaged. Since the stem cells are from their own bodies, the patients do not need to take anti-rejection drugs.

Adult stem cells have been used for decades to cure blood cancers such as leukemia and diseases like sickle cell anemia. But fixing a problem like damaged eyes is a relatively new use. Researchers have been studying cell therapy for a host of other diseases, including diabetes and heart failure, with limited success.

Read more

Boiling Point Reached in Global Warming

Global warming is happening, whether we like it or not. For the most part, corporations, politicians, and “scientists” have been proclaiming that global warming isn’t happening, and that if it is happening, humans are not to blame. Well, the good news is that this is changing!

New York State Governor has called for a 25% reduction in oil consumption over the next 10 years.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has had enough of politicians ignoring the truth of global warming. Now the paper is demanding action to protect the environment.

The best article is from the Montreal Gazette. They have an article written to show how some politicians, like Arnie and Blair, and some corporations are making change right now.

I know all of this is not perfect, but we are here to celebrate the good that is happening in the hopes that people don’t get discouraged.

Twofer of Machine/Brain Interfaces

The ever quickening pace of technology is leading to more and more good news! The first bit is a great story from New Scientist.

cyborg illustration by Renegade Zen

A man named Matt Nagle controls a computer cursor by ‘thinking’ about it much like you would ‘think’ about moving your arm, despite being totally paralyzed. A brain implant the size of a pill with 96 electrodes allows the man to control the computer or a robotic arm through a system developed by the company Cyberkinetics.

The second bit of good neuroscience news comes from Wired magazine, and is all about a wild new DARPA project called the “cortically coupled computer vision system” or C3 Vision. The system uses an electrode cap to pick up the ‘aha!’ signal that your brain generates when it sees something interesting. As images flicker past the user, the ones that generate the ‘aha!’ signal are saved for later inspection by the user.

There are many commercial applications in military and law enforcement/security sectors, but one could imagine all sorts of other novel uses for the technology such as culling good designs from bad ones.

Readers of TAG will remember the story last month about Japan’s bionic hand

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