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Eric Selby poses with Second Sight's Argus II fitted in his right eye, which enables him to detect light.

Second Sight, the company that created the first artificial retina for people with a certain form of blindness, is now testing a brain implant called Orion, according to MIT Technology Review. The USFDA has conditionally approved a clinical trial of the technology, and the company plans to start enrolling patients for the trial implants in October.

How it works: Electrodes send electrical pulses to the brain's visual cortex, which registers the information as patterns of light. (Typically the visual cortex receives input from the retina).

The older device, Argus II, used a camera mounted on glasses that sent images to a chip implanted in the eye near the retina, which then sent electrical pulses to the brain to process the information. "In some types of blindness, the optic nerve is damaged so you have to go downstream. With the Orion, we're essentially replacing the eye and the optic nerve completely," Robert Greenberg, board chair of Second Sight told Technology Review.

Who it works for: Argus II could only help patients who were blind due to the disease retinitis pigmentosa. Second Sight estimates 400,000 such patients around the world are eligible for the device, but they have only sold 250 to date. The company estimates 6 million people worldwide who could be helped by their new technology. "Anyone who had vision but has lost it from almost any cause could potentially be helped by the Orion technology," Greenberg said.

Risks: The new technology would require a more invasive surgery, which comes with a higher risk of infections or seizures.

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.