October 9th, 2010
This brilliant book by Alexander Oserwalder has been hugely successful, and now... its iPad app is on its way, making it a good reason to be featured on our blog! (psst..not just because we're in it). Also, its been mentioned to us in the last week by three very unrelated people whom we are working with, and we might be digging it up a bit more in the context of an in-house product development project. Definitely worth a peek for those 'creative types' setting up / running their own businesses.
October 5th, 2010
We are digging up old medical books and sifting through various sites for historic records of vision prosthesis while exploring a new project. Some of the stuff out there is pretty crazy, and we wanted to share just some of our findings. The Ocular Prosthetic or Artificial Eye for purely cosmetic reasons was used by the famous French surgeon Ambrose Paré (1510-1590). 'Hypoblephara' made from gold, silver and coloured enamel were worn under the eyelid and over the atrophic (wasted) eye. Painted leather 'Ekblephara' sat over the eyelids, held in place by wire or string. (we'd love to find some images of these!) The Cryolite Glass Eye: Image found from flickr, of Jonas Bros. of Denver Taxidermy Catalog, an inside spread with artificial eyes. Around 1835, German craftsmen designed a form of glass called cryolite glass which had a greyish white color which matched the real eye more closely than ever before. They heated a tube of glass and formed a ball on one end that was then cut off and trimmed. An artist then hand painted an iris and details onto the eye. Although the procedure and materials used have evolved, this overall process remains remarkably similar almost two hundred years later. Set of 12 trial lenses and a pair of trial frames, Europe, 1880-1920 Not directly connected to prosthetics, these 12 glass lenses found on Science Museum's fantastic History of Medicine site 'can be inserted into the blue metal frames. This changes the way the light is bent when it enters the eye. These lenses may have been intended to assess what a person required in their spectacles. What interests us is how they played with the thickness and the unusual shapes of the lens to test patients with severe sight problems." The Active epi-retinal prosthesis and the Bionic Eye Only in the late 1990s did the proof of principle get approved for the first active epi-retinal prosthesis, which was aimed towards a functional restoration, beyond cosmetics. While several biological and technological factors have meant that the perfect visual prosthetics in humans remains investigational, 'bionic eye' projects are proving successful in different parts of the world. The Boston Retinal Implant Project developed an implant that will help those with degenerative blindness see again. Although not a bionic eye, its a huge step in that direction. It works by being implanted at the back of the eyeball and transmitting light to the brain via a tiny nerve. And recently, another bionic eye prototype developed by Bionic Vision Australia aims to implant an array of electrodes in the eye that can deliver electrical impulses directly to neurons in the retina. Although nothing yet like the high resolution, automatic zoom, and night vision of Steve Austin’s bionic eye! Well, this is only a sneaky peak at the history of vision prosthesis, we are looking to investigate more exciting things ahead. Finally, a nice extract from the Science Poems Manifesto: "Out beyond the farthest stars, Where the cold of space spreads thin, We endeavor to look out, While they are looking in."