University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $19,938

Electrical stimulation of the retina to treat blindness is an effective method to provide vision while parallel research progresses on providing a cure. However, this therapy is restricted since current electrode technology doesn’t conform to the back of the eye; gaps between the electrodes and the retina require greater stimulation potentials that can actually cause reduced visual acuity.

This team is developing SynapTech, a neural interface technology that will enable precise integration of the electrode with the retina, allowing minimal stimulating potentials, greater electrode density and enhanced vision. The team’s novel design consists of an array of moveable electrodes with micron-level precision.