While still an associate professor at Princeton University, Michael McAllin directed the development of a bionic ear made with a 3D printer. After moving to the University of Minnesota, he led the team of scientists to continue his research, but also to create a rudimentary bionic eye also using three-dimensional printing.
At first, the researchers created a hemispherical glass dome reminiscent of the size and shape of the reverse side of the human eye. Using a special 3D printer, they added ink strips containing silver particles. After the drying process, a printed layer of a semiconductor polymer was applied over the resulting substrate.
The result is an array of three-dimensional printed photodiodes that can convert light into electric current with an efficiency of 25%. The team of scientists intends to increase this figure and integrate many more photodiodes into the camera. Ultimately, they hope to create a fully functioning bionic eye, which blind patients can use.
In addition, scientists are developing new ways to print photodiodes on a soft hemispherical material that can be implanted surgically into the back of the patient's eye, where he will replace the retina.js.src = “&version=v2.8”; 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));