Monash Vision Group (MVG) is a collaboration between Monash University and Alfred Health. Our flagship project is Gennaris: a bionic vision system that aims to provide artificial vision to blind individuals. Since inception in 2010, we have been working to develop a clinically viable bionic vision system, and to demonstrate the safety and usefulness of this system in a small number of recipients with complete, bilateral blindness.
The core technology under development by Monash Vision Group involves a wireless implant that is designed to deliver patterned electrical stimulation to the brain. Up to 11 of these implants, each of which are around the size of a thumbnail, may be placed on the surface of the brain and programmed wirelessly to stimulate brain cells with tiny electrical pulses. These electrical pulses can be interpreted as visual information, providing the recipient with basic shapes and outlines that may assist with navigation, object recognition, and other basic everyday tasks.
The project is led by Professor Arthur Lowery with the involvement of a number of exceptional academics, including Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, Dr Yan Wong, Professor Marcello Rosa and Professor Ramesh Rajan. The technology has been developed in partnership with local engineering companies Grey Innovation and MiniFAB, and evaluated in a series of preclinical studies conducted in the Department of Physiology at Monash University. The project has been funded through the Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative (application number SR1000006), the National Health and Medical Research Council (application number 1075773), the BioMedTech Horizons program and generous philanthropic support from the Alan and Elizabeth Finkel Foundation, Drs Marc and Eva Besen, and Monash Engineering and IT Faculty Foundation.