Förderung des fächerübergreifenden Austauschs
Interdisciplinary Projects
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RetinaSen­sor: Enhanced Vision Restora­tion in Blind People

Dr. Wadood Haq – Hector Fellow Eberhart Zrenner

Shadi Nashashibi – Hector Fellow Jürg Leuthold

Marina Homs – Hector Fellow Jürg Leuthold

In this project the Hector Fellows Jürg Leuthold and Eberhart Zrenner are working together with the HFA Postdoc Dr. Wadood Haq (Eberhard Karls Univer­sity, Tübin­gen) and doctoral students Shadi Nashashibi (ETH Zurich) and Marina Homs (ETH Zurich) towards the next gener­a­tion of retinal implants. By combin­ing highly sensi­tive photode­tec­tors with a micro­elec­trode array operat­ing under a new stimu­la­tion paradigm, the RetinaSen­sor will enable previ­ously unachieved spatial and tempo­ral resolu­tion in electric retinal implant technologies.

Since 2023, the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary project has received 3‑year funding from the Swiss National Science Founda­tion (SNSF) and the German Research Founda­tion (DFG) of around 600,000 euros for each of the two research groups involved in the project.

RetinaSen­sor is an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary project with the aim of advanc­ing the electri­cal retinal implant technol­ogy for enhanced vision restora­tion of blind people. Due to the genetic diver­sity of inher­ited retinal degen­er­a­tive diseases (roughly 290 genes involved in retinal dystro­phies) the electri­cal retinal implants are the only compre­hen­sive gene-indepen­dent treat­ment for blind­ness caused by photore­cep­tor loss so far. Hence, the RetinaSen­sor project syner­gize the latest technolo­gies and know-how to overcome the limita­tions of subreti­nal implants and promote advanced artifi­cial vision with unprece­dent spatial and visual-tempo­ral resolu­tion. This is made possi­ble due to the combined efforts of the Hector Fellows Jürg Leuthold special­ized in photon­ics and Eberhart Zrenner, who has been devel­op­ing and study­ing electric subreti­nal implants of the first gener­a­tion in patients since the 90s.

The RetinaSen­sor will incor­po­rate a highly sensi­tive photo­sen­sor array based on van-der-Waals heterostruc­ture provid­ing a high dynamic range for an ideal image capture of the surround­ing environ­ment under various light condi­tions. Coupled to an electrode array at a previ­ously unachieved dense spatial resolu­tion and combined with a novel biomimetic feature-based stimu­la­tion paradigm for a high visual-tempo­ral resolu­tion, the RetinaSen­sor will bring blind people a step closer to advanced artifi­cial vision.

RetinaSensor: Neuartige elektronische Netzhautimplantate für Blinde

Figure 1: The RetinaSen­sor is illus­trated as subreti­nal implant in a human eye. It contains highly sensi­tive photode­tec­tors for captur­ing incom­ing light. The result­ing electri­cal signals from the photode­tec­tors are sent to the petal-shaped electrodes for retinal stimu­la­tion with a novel biomimetic stimu­la­tion paradigm.

Dr. Wadood Haq

Eberhard Karls Univer­sität, Tübingen

Shadi Nashashibi

ETH Zürich

Marina Homs

ETH Zürich

Supported by

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult.

Eberhart Zrenner

Medicine, Biology & Engineering

Disziplinen Eberhart ZrennerHector Fellow since 2012

Prof. Dr.

Jürg Leuthold

Physics & Engineering

Hector Fellow since 2010Disziplinen Jürg Leuthold