Researchers Create Artificial Eye that Copies Human Eye Functions

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. dimly / ˈdɪmli / (adv) – with poor or low lighting

    The electricity got cut off, so the room was dimly lit by candles.

  2. impairment / ɪmˈpɛər mənt / (n) – the condition of being weakened, damaged, or not working well

    He wears glasses because of his visual impairment.

  3. humanoid / ˈhyu məˌnɔɪd / (adj) – having characteristics or qualities of a human

    The company is developing humanoid robots that can talk.

  4. synthetic / sɪnˈθɛt ɪk / (adj) – made of artificial materials

    Scientists are developing synthetic trees that look like real trees.

  5. outperform / ˌaʊt pərˈfɔrm / (v) – to work or do better than someone or something

    Some experts believe that hybrid cars outperform electric ones.


Read the text below.

Researchers built an artificial eye that mimics human eye structure and functions.

A team of scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology created the ElectroChemical Eye or EC-Eye, which is almost the same shape and size as a real eye. The EC-Eye can see in a dimly lit environment just like human eyes, but it can process light changes faster.

According to one of the engineers, the artificial eye can help people with vision impairment, and it can be used to develop humanoid robots in the future.

The synthetic eye contains light-sensitive sensors that let it absorb light. It also has a lens that directs the light to specialized nanowires. These wires are connected to a computer, which processes the light into images.

This mechanism mimics how the biological iris and retina work. The iris controls the amount of light that goes through the eye, while the retina transforms light into neural signals and delivers these signals to the brain for visual perception.

The current version of the EC-Eye comes with a low resolution because it only has a few nanowires. However, the device’s developers said that they can further improve it and give it the ability to outperform human eyes.

According to researchers, increasing the number of nanowires in the EC-Eye by up to 10 times more will give it the ability to tell the difference between visible light and infrared radiation. This will allow the device’s user to see greater distances, perceive smaller objects, and even have night vision.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think scientists should develop the EC-Eye so that it has more advanced functions than the human eye? Why or why not?
• Do you think that the EC-Eye should be given only to people with visual impairment? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think it is important to develop technology that mimics the functions of the human body (e.g. robot hands, artificial skin)? Why or why not?
• Do you think that in the future, it will be common to use technology that mimics the functions of the human body? Why or why not?