DOE Artificial Retina Project

Archive Site Provided for Historical Purposes

Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

Collaborators map

Map of project collaborators and descriptions of their primary contributions. Click on map for larger image.

Artificial Retina Project Collaborators

An effort spanning 6 DOE national laboratories, 4 universities, and private industry

Multidisciplinary groups across the United States are using a highly focused and coordinated approach to develop a dramatically improved retinal prosthetic device to restore sight to the blind. The Doheny Eye Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Second Sight™ Medical Products, Inc., lead the collaborative effort through an executive committee.

Meet the Team

Doheny logo

Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California
Provided medical direction and performs preclinical and clinical testing of the electrode array implants. Leads the Artificial Retina Project.

Second Sight logo

Second Sight™ Medical Products, Inc.
Manufactured the Model 1 and Model 2 devices (the latter with DOE contributions) and will integrate DOE technologies into a Model 3 design. SSMP will be responsible for integration and production of devices under FDA regulations, performance of clinical trials, and eventual commercial distribution to patients.

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Argonne National Laboratory
Performed packaging and hermetic-seal research to protect the prosthetic device from the salty eye environment, using their R&D 100 award-winning ultrananocrystalline diamond technology.

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Brookhaven National Laboratory
Performed neuroscience imaging studies of the Model 1 retinal prosthesis.


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Used microfabrication technology to develop thin, flexible neural electrode arrays that conform to the retina's curved shape. LLNL also uses advanced packaging technology and system-level integration to interconnect the electronics package and the thin-film electrode array.

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Los Alamos National Laboratory
Performed imaging and modeling of retinal function and develops advanced optical imaging techniques. These contributions will provide a better understanding of how the prosthesis works by mapping the interaction between the brain and retina.

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North Carolina State University
Performed electromagnetic and thermal modeling of the device to help determine how much energy can be used to stimulate the remaining nondiseased cells.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Measured the effect of increasing the number of electrodes on the quality of the electrical signals used to stimulate the surviving neural cells in the retina.

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Sandia National Laboratories
Developed microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices and high-voltage subsystems for advanced implant designs. These include microtools, electronics packaging, and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to allow high-density interconnects and electrode arrays.

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thumbnail UCSC spotlight

UCSC Spotlight: Wentai Liu

University of California, Santa Cruz
Performed bidirectional telemetry for wireless communication and chip design for stimulating the electrode array.

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California Institute of Technology
Performed real-time image processing of miniature camera output and provides optimization of visual perception.

The Artificial Retina Project was part of the
Biological and Environmental Research Program
of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

DOE Office of Science

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Last modified: Thursday, May 02, 2019