Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), an Australian research group, is getting close to implanting a microchip into a human retina and creating the first bionic eye.

Associate Professor Gregg Suaning, of the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering and a project leader said the new, 98-channel microchip, now undergoing preliminary lab testing, was a major step towards the goal of a functional bionic eye. He went on to say:

This is a remarkable new microchip that has brought an Australian retinal implant much closer to reality.

At only five square millimetres, the device is tiny but represents a significant advance in nerve stimulation technology. The design team incorporated never-before attempted features with this design and they absolutely nailed every aspect. The result is mind boggling.

The advanced prototype of this new bionic eye uses a pair of glasses with a camera that wirelessly transfers data to the microchip implanted in the retina and stimulating the nerves needed for vision.

The first human trials will begin in 2013.