Dragonflies Help Create New Vision for Eyes! Who Knew?

WSJ Reports From Sydney, Australia

This article captivated my attention for a couple of reasons.  First, my mom before she passed away almost 14 years ago bought me a beautiful dragonfly for my coffee table in my condo. Not one to tell me what to do, she merely dropped hints and let me think it was my idea.  So, I’m a slow study,  and recently have become interested in dragonflies.  Secondly, sight impairment is always top of mind for me since I’ve been myopic since I was seven years old and my dad suffered from age related wet macular degeneration. I realize I have digressed, so back to Sydney!

The WSJ reports on Tuesday, October 6th that Australian researchers have been studying the dragonfly which they also claim is called the Tau emerald!  The research they have been conducting is for the purpose of helping out people with blindness and more currently making driverless cars more effective?

What I Now Know About Dragonflies

I learned that dragonflies are of a high order in the insect kingdom due to their wide eyed view of things!  This quality of having large and wide eyes enables them to be highly attuned to movements and be expert trackers of enemies when among a huge group of what they may consider to be friends.

What’s Happening In Our Country With This Research?

  1. A company out of Sylmar,California, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., is using this research to develop a bionic eye!  Apparently, according to this article it has “regulatory approval to market its retinal prosthesis in the U.S. to treat a certain kind of blindness”  The team in Australia decided to research the dragonfly because it’s brain was easier to understand, neurologically speaking.  The article mentions the original research was funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and subsequent research was funded by grants from the Australian Research Council.
  2. Dr. Wiederman, a neuroscientist at the U of A( University of Adelaide) was the original team leader who recognized that the dragonfly has a visual system that is “well suited” to prosthetic devices like the bionic eye.
  3. The article claims that researchers have expectations that someday this technology could be useful in driverless cars by eliminating the chances of hitting any moving objects; people, animals or anything in their purview!

Its so interesting to me that the dragonfly and my interest in maintaining my eye health as I am growing older seemed to intersect in a fascinating way!   Please comment on your thoughts about anything….eyes, dragonflies or just plain karma!

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