Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eye Spy Israeli Nanotechnology

The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website reports that Nano Retina, based in Herzliya, has developed a system of retinal implants to help people suffering from macular degeneration, complications of diabetes, and other diseases that affect vision.

Without getting all technical, the Bio-Retina would be implanted into the eye and actually glued over one’s natural but damaged retina. As light enters the eye, the Bio-Retina converts it into tiny electrical impulses and sends them off to the brain, essentially functioning just as a normal, healthy retina would. Best part? The procedure takes about half an hour. Heck, that’s faster than most dentist visits.

Unsurprisingly, Nano Retina’s innovative chief executive Ra’anan Gefen comes from a background of technology development in Israel’s military. Nano Retina isn’t a one-man show, though. The company is a joint venture of Rainbow Medical, also of Herzliya, and Zyvex Labs of Texas. (And, to be fair, we should mention that U.S.-based Second Sight Medical Products is also working on its own solution.)

Will bionic eyes become standard fare? Will macular degeneration become a thing of the past? Will the carrot industry survive? Only time will tell.

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