Researchers have gone from a 4×4 grid (16 ‘pixels’) in 2004 up to a 60-electrode version that was implanted in two men recently. While not quite in Geordi Laforge territory, it’s a big step up from complete blindness. After enough practice, the earlier patients were able to distinguish between eating implements at a dinner table, so it’ll be interesting to see what these guys can do. The 3rd generation will be designed with about 600 electrodes, and they’re hoping that patients will be able to read.
A camera built into a pair of glasses connects to a processing pack that is carried or clipped onto the belt. This then beams the image into the retina, turning on electrodes and stimulating the eye. So far, this will only work for people who have lost vision, not for people who were born blind.