NICTA eyes new lab

Melbourne-based Bioelectronics Laboratory will help support development of a bionic eye

The creation of a working bionic eye will be the focus of a new research laboratory being built by NICTA at its Research Laboratory premises in Melbourne.

The NICTA Bioelectronics Laboratory will feature software tools for nano-scale electronic circuit design and equipment to test the performance of devices.

The lab’s first project will be to support the development of the electronics for the second prototype retinal implant device being developed by the Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) consortium of research institutes.

BVA received $42 million in funding from the Australian Government for the development of a bionic eye – a device containing more than 1000 electrodes and able to operate wirelessly.

The labs will also develop next-generation technologies utilising "extremely low-powered" wireless systems to help support the bionic eye project and the remote monitoring of patient health.

Professor Stan Skafidas, head of NICTA’s bionic eye research and head of the NICTA Bioelectronics Lab, said the collaboration between biology and electronics at the new labs would help develop new and disruptive technologies.

“In the future, our new lab will also have the capacity to develop a range of diagnostic tools, such as a ‘lab on a chip’, which will have applications across many fields of medicine,” he said in a statement.

NICTA defines a lab on a chip as a microchip that can perform chemical analysis of biological systems.

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