Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight: Physicist leads effort to design fractal devices to put in eyes

Date:
May 6, 2011
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
A researcher is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight by designing nano-sized flowers whose fractal shapes on implants will engage with neurons to carry light to the optic nerve.

Richard Taylor, physics professor and director of the University of Oregon Material Science Institute, is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight by designing nano-sized flowers whose fractal shapes on implants will engage with neurons to carry light to the optic nerve.
Credit: Photo by Jim Barlow

University of Oregon researcher Richard Taylor is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight, such as those suffering from macular degeneration, to see again.

Related Articles


These flowers are not roses, tulips or columbines. They will be nanoflowers seeded from nano-sized particles of metals that grow, or self assemble, in a natural process -- diffusion limited aggregation. They will be fractals that mimic and communicate efficiently with neurons.

Fractals are "a trademark building block of nature," Taylor says. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes, of which any one component seen under magnification is also the same shape. In math, that property is self-similarity. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals, Taylor says. Today's commercial electronic chips are not fractals, he adds.

Eye surgeons would implant these fractal devices within the eyes of blind patients, providing interface circuitry that would collect light captured by the retina and guide it with almost 100 percent efficiency to neurons for relay to the optic nerve to process vision.

In an article titled "Vision of beauty" for Physics World, Taylor, a physicist and director of the UO Materials Science Institute, describes his envisioned approach and how it might overcome the problems occurring with current efforts to insert photodiodes behind the eyes. Current chip technology is limited, because it doesn't allow sufficient connections with neurons.

"The wiring -- the neurons -- in the retina is fractal, but the chips are not fractal," Taylor says. "They are just little squares of electrodes that provide too little overlap with the neurons."

Beginning this summer, Taylor's doctoral student Rick Montgomery will begin a yearlong collaboration with Simon Brown at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand to experiment with various metals to grow the fractal flowers on implantable chips.

The idea for the project emerged as Taylor was working under a Cottrell Scholar Award he received in 2003 from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. His vision is now beginning to blossom under grants from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the U.S. Air Force and the National Science Foundation.

Taylor's theoretical concept for fractal-based photodiodes also is the focus of a U.S. patent application filed by the UO's Office of Technology Transfer under Taylor's and Brown's names, the UO and University of Canterbury.

The project, he writes in the Physics World article, is based on "the striking similarities between the eye and the digital camera." (Physics World article is available at: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/45840)

"The front end of both systems," he writes, "consists of an adjustable aperture within a compound lens, and advances bring these similarities closer each year." Digital cameras, he adds, are approaching the capacity to capture the 127 megapixels of the human eye, but current chip-based implants, because of their interface, are only providing about 50 pixels of resolution.

Among the challenges, Taylor says, is determining which metals can best go into body without toxicity problems. "We're right at the start of this amazing voyage," Taylor says. "The ultimate thrill for me will be to go to a blind person and say, we're developing a chip that one day will help you see again. For me, that is very different from my previous research, where I've been looking at electronics to go into computers, to actually help somebody … if I can pull that off that will be a tremendous thrill for me."

Taylor also is working under a Research Corp. grant to pursue fractal-based solar cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oregon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight: Physicist leads effort to design fractal devices to put in eyes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505181537.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2011, May 6). Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight: Physicist leads effort to design fractal devices to put in eyes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505181537.htm
University of Oregon. "Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight: Physicist leads effort to design fractal devices to put in eyes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505181537.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins