Researchers at the Bionics Institute have saved months of work since using 3D printing technology to produce bionic eye prototypes, allowing them to work with surgeons on faster clinical upgrades.Senior Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute, Chris Williams, leads a team who are working to create components such as RF coils that transmit power and data wirelessly once implanted in the eye.
“You would be able to transmit vision to the device in the eye…it’s just like putting a smart phone in your eye,” he says.
Associate Professor Williams uses the ProJet 1200 for verification models which allow his team to test for fit, size and functionality. The team then use the 3D printing for pre-production, making moulds from the models which they use to cast silicon prototypes.
“We can now get a prototype out in 4 hours using the ProJet 1200. Before 3D printing it would take us weeks or months. We found it takes 20 iterations to reach an upgrade, in terms of going through iterations, the machine justified itself in the first week.” he says.
After 5 years of research the first clinical trial has been completed on patients using a novel device.
“It was quite promising, their vision was optimised, obviously they want better vision and fully wireless power, but the eye surgeons were pleased with the process and that’s a platform for future trials”, Associate Professor William’s said.