If your eyes are going bad, why not replace them with artificial ones? Italian research group MHOX has unveiled a concept for the world’s first 3D-bioprinted synthetic eyes, capable of connecting to Wi-Fi and even recording what a person is seeing. The Bologna-based designers says that their futuristic ‘Enhance Your Eye’ project will become reality in 2027. Metro spoke to 30-year-old lead designer Filippo Nassetti on what the benefits will be to have man-made vision.
Q: What’s the inspiration behind Enhance Your Eye?
– The latest developments in bioprinting and biohacking let us imagine that in the near future it would be possible to easily print organic, functional body parts, allowing the human to replace defected districts or enhance standard performance. This project is based on the idea of augmenting one’s sight, increasing the functionalities of the eye with ones currently handled by other body segments or external devices.
Q: Why are you creating it?
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– I was flying somewhere above Europe on my way to Italy after a couple of weeks in London. The afternoon before, I was at an exhibition at the Barbican showcasing a set of glass eyes that struck my imagination. Then, on the plane I was reading about claims on the possibility of 3d-printing people. The inspiration came there; I guess it was an unconscious connection of the two things.
Q: How will your synthetic eyes work?
– It’s a concept design without any scientific basis apart from the observation of the trends of development in 3D bioprinting and biohacking technologies. The aim is essentially to build a sensibility in people regarding what might be possible in a few decades. We want to popularize technological concepts to make them accessible to a higher number of people, since we believe that would ultimately lead to a higher investment of energies in research, consequently better and faster results. We forecast that bioprinting and biohacking would have made impressive advances by 2027. But its creation will be hard anyway given the inherent complexity of the human eye.
Q: But why a Wi-Fi connection for the eyes?
– To record and share personal visual information. Nowadays, recording and sharing personal experiences has become a widespread practice. We decided to introduce this feature in order to get a more commercial product that responds to popular needs.
Q: What other benefits could Enhance Your Eye have?
– There are many. The Enhance Your Eye range includes three models. ‘EYE Heal’, for example, replaces standard eye functionality, providing a cure to sight diseases and traumas. ‘EYE Enhance’ sharpens sight up to 15/10, thanks to its hyper-retina. Moreover, the added visual gland allows the opportunity to aesthetically filter the visual signal. Filters (vintage, black and white) can be activated or changed by swallowing ‘EYE pills’. ‘EYE Advance’, on top of the other models, provides the ability to record and share the visual experience, thanks to the added gland that supports Wi-Fi communication. Once activated the Wi-Fi mode through the EYE connection pill is able to connect the EYE like an external camera for several devices.