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BVT Technology Pipeline

How does the BVT Bionic Eye work?

The BVT Bionic Eye functions in the following manner: A camera attached to a pair of glasses captures the image and transmits the data to a processing unit which is worn on the body. The data is processed and sent to the implanted system either wirelessly or through an external wire. An implant situated behind the ear receives the signals from the processing unit and sends them to the electrode array via a wire. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells, resulting in a corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. Following implantation of the device, patients learn to interpret these visual patterns, allowing them to detect shapes of people and objects in their surroundings. Plasticity of the brain plays an important role in enabling the outcomes of the devices.

Bionic_Eye
1.

Camera captures image and wirelessly transmits data to implant via the vision processor (not shown).

2.

Retinal implant stimulates retina.

3.

Electrical signals sent from retina via usual pathway to vision processing centres in the brain.

BVT Competitive Advantages

Novel surgical techniques

The ultimate aim of a bionic eye is to provide a sense of vision without interfering with any existing residual function. Preserving the retina during surgery by minimising damage is imperative.

Devices implanted by other groups/companies have resulted in a significant number of Serious Adverse Events (SAEs). The SAEs include a risky increase in intraocular pressure and a 10 x higher rate of infection (endophthalmitis) than is normal in intraocular surgery. To reduce the risk of SAEs, BVT have developed the novel suprachoroidal surgical procedure. In addition to reducing clinical risk, it also positions the device in a more stable location than the other locations within the eye. During an initial clinical trial (2012-2014) involving three patients, there were no device-related SAEs. This safe and reproducible surgical technique is used for all BVT devices.

Novel_Surgical

Vision Processing

Vision processing aims to improve results of the bionic eye by applying algorithms to the data as it is being processed. Our world leading vision processing capabilities mean that we can constantly upgrade the patients experience without having to surgically implant updated devices. The vision processing software used in our devices is common across all devices.

Bionic Vision Technology Pipeline

BVT products under development:

1) The BVT Bionic Eye

Aiming to improve mobility and independence for people with significant vision loss, using a novel,
safe and stable surgical procedure

2)Other technologies

Aiming to delay the onset of vision loss using novel approaches to electrode arrangement and stimulation

1)The BVT Bionic Eye

The overall aim of the 44 channel device is to propel the novel suprachoroidal implant, which has been proven to work in a laboratory setting, into the real life environment, enabling patients to regain independence. The 22 channel prototype could only be used in a laboratory setting as it required an external stimulator (via the percutaneous connector) to operate. The 44 channel device will be connected to a fully implantable stimulator. An external transponder coil will attach via magnets to the patients scalp to allow power and data transfer, and this will allow connection with an external vision processor and camera on glasses. Each electrode will be significantly larger than in the prototype device to increase safety margins and reduce electrical impedance. The distribution of the electrodes within the array will be widened (without increasing the overall size of the suprachoroidal component of the device) to provide a wider field of view, this change is based on patient feedback from the pilot trial.

Based on the outcomes of patient trials, patient feedback, and on-going psychophysical evaluations, the algorithms for stimulation strategy and vision processing are being also refined and improved.

The clinical trial of the BVT Bionic Eye commenced in Q1 2018, with completion expected in early 2021.

2)Other technologies

The BVT product pipeline consists of promising new technologies for enhanced retinal implants and with the hope of delaying vision loss.

Bionic Vision Technologies