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VR Interfaces: Argus 2


Overview of Argus 2
The Argus 2 implant is the successor to Argus 1. Both were created by the same company, Second Sight. Both were created for the same purpose: To restore sight to the blind. Like its predecessor, Argus 2 is a complex arrangement of implanted electrodes, implanted data receiver and spectacles. Where it offers improvement over its predecessor is that Argus 1 could only offer 16 electrodes in a 4 x 4 array. In the same area on the back of the retina, Argus 2 offers 60 electrodes in a 10 x 6 array.

Otherwise, it is exactly like its predecessor. It consists of a tiny camera and transmitter mounted in the rims of a pair of inconspicuous spectacles, an implanted receiver under the skin to one side of the eye, which receives the output of the camera on that side, and connects via fine wires to an electrode-studded array secured to the retina with a microtack the width of a human hair. A wireless microprocessor and battery pack worn on the belt power the entire arrangement.

As with its predecessor, this sounds quite a lot like the setup used in virtual sight. This is not quite the case.Argus connects to the retina of the eye, whereas virtual sight connects to the optic nerve directly. As a result, Argus requires a natural eyeball to still be in place, and cannot work with those lacking such.

Because it is the same setup as the previous device, much of the hardware remains the same. The spectacles in particular can be used with either device, as in both cases, the tiny cameras are capable of recording much more information than the Argus devices can process. The real advantage the Argus 2 has however, is because it offers a 10 x 6 'pixel' display rather than a 4x6 one, is there is enough information now to distinguish simple objects like a human head.

Still, this amount of data is still alien to the human visual system. Normally the human retina processes 8.75 megapixels worth of data per second. even updating ten times a second, 600 bytes is nothing next to that. As with the Argus 1, patients have to learn how to see all over again, to interpret the visual patterns produced into meaningful images.

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