Today, the F.D.A. approved the first use of artificial retina technology to give limited vision to the blind. While some financing came from the private sector, major support for the development came from Department of Energy , along with other federal agencies. Specifically, through the Artificial Retina Project, DOE funded several national laboratories to work in multidisciplinary teams on dual-use technologies relevant to both DOE’s energy mission and the artificial retina technology. Who would have guessed that research on environmental sensing and biofuels would play key parts in letting the blind see anew? It stands as a testament not only to American ingenuity, but also to the game-changing pay-offs that federal investments in energy technology can produce. And it will undoubtedly mark the beginning of a heretofore completely new industry.
The article was reported by Pam Belluck and can be read at the New York Times.