A team of researchers is working on a nano-size battery that one day could be implanted in the eye to power an artificial retina.
The new National Center for Design of Biomimetic Nanoconductors will design and fabricate nanomedical devices based on natural and synthetic ion transporters — proteins that control ion motion across the membranes of every living cell.
The bio-batteries will be used for implantable devices, starting with an artificial retina that has already been developed at the Doheny Eye Institute. The artificial retina and the nanobattery will be used to correct certain types of macular degeneration.
The scientists plan to translate several biological functions into new devices that would treat disease and lead to implantable devices. Properties of interest that appear in the biological ion transporters include electrical signaling, osmotic pumping, and molecular detection.