Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of 3D printing, a process that is revolutionizing product manufacturing. The technology that makes it all work is so advanced that it seems like it is taken from a science fiction movie. If you’re unfamiliar with how this innovation actually works, here’s a quick refresher. 3D printing, also known additive manufacturing, is the use of a 3D printer to replicate a digital model by creating layer upon layer of materials until completion. It is currently being used to create various parts, toys, food, and even houses. In the near future, 3D printing may also be used to create human organs, including eyes.
MHOX, a generative design studio in Italy, recently released information to the public about Enhance Your Eye (EYE), a project to develop synthetic eyes using 3D bioprinting. Rather than using plastic, metal, or other materials often required for product manufacturing, bioprinting uses human cells to construct tissues and organs. The process is already in use to create kidneys, ears, blood vessels, and bones.
MHOX hopes to develop three types of synthetic eyes, named Heal, Enhance, and Advance. Here are some of the features that each will include:
Heal: Provides sight. Promoted as a solution for those with eye diseases or past eye trauma.
Enhance: Uses a hyper-retina to sharpen sight to 15/20. Users can also take specialized pills to filter their vision, similar to the function of popular photo apps.
Advance: Allows user to record and share their “visual experience”, using integrated WiFi communication. Also includes the functionality of the Heal and Enhance models.
Before these synthetic eyes could be used, an individual would need to have MHOX’s Deck surgically installed. The Deck works as an artificial retina to communicate with the brain. It’s still unclear what the Deck will look like and if users will still be able to maintain a natural appearance.
The anticipated release date for EYE products is January 2027.
What Do You Think?
Does the possibility of synthetic eyes excite you? Or are you nervous about the implications of 3D bioprinting? Please let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below. You can also read more by visiting MHOX’s website.