Blinking eye-on-a-chip (BIC) helps a prosthetic limbimate like never before

Blinking is nearly impossible and it is a basic human function yet it is often a chronic condition unique to each patient. Now a team from the Brazilian Federal University of So Paulo (UNIFESP) in partnership with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at MIT has designed and created a BIC that replicates the biological state of the patients brain when blinking. This means that a prosthetic hand can be used dynamically in real time in the sense of actually making a sensation in a patients brain. This invention is published in the journal Science Advances.

It is possible to make a prosthetic arm with a camera but certainly with negligible results.

Blinking occurs when the eye:

Relies on the retina for information and sends signals without receiving the signals from the brain signal processing centre explains Alexandra Melo professor at UNIFESP and corresponding author of the study. When the neurons in the eye are not working properly there is no temporal precision to distinguish when someone is looking at the left or the right. Blinking is often a genetic disease but other brain diseases cause similar problems that affect the sight. In an area normally covered by white matter many parts of the eye have been affected in response to a particular disease. With our new device the obvious features of the blinding shown by patients are reproduced.

Researchers have developed a device with a circular device with channels throughout. Around each channel is a small array of neurons each connected to a slight but flexible plate a series of microscope slides and an artificial arm. Each is 400 micrometers in size and has a single wheel – an inch-diameter device at its widest part which is essential to reproduce the biological activity of the eye. The wheel moves in a very important way that is much less in size than an operating wheel. In addition the third channel where the facial muscles are is kept completely intact and is also a modular structure.

We require a convening of external and external element specific to the patient for accurate adaptation of our process as well as for testing of the device in the field. By arranging a complex integrated set of mechanisms the team was solely concerned with reproducing the visual physiological function usually observed in patients explains Luiz Henrique Martins a researcher at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at MIT.

Experiments carried out with rats showed that more than 80 percent of the cells are in sync that is the cell activity is generated according to the demand of the patient and not before contact with the environment.

Dynamically reproducing the condition and determining its neural responses therefore becomes the necessary topic of study and is something that a team for which Eduard Bardian is the principal investigator is doing.