The Boston Retinal Implant Project
and its Commercial Partners:
Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc. and Visus Technologies, Inc.

The Boston Retinal Implant Project (BRIP) was founded in the late 1980s and has been successfully funded since that time to develop medical devices to help blind patients. Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc. and Visus Technologies, Inc. are each developing state of the art devices to assist visually impaired patients. These technologies for these devices are outgrowths of the work of the BRIP.

Please see the Business Page for more information about this venture.


Video Credits: Stick Figure Productions and Focus Forward Films, Steven Cantor and Margaret McCombs

& Disease

Blindness affects millions of people worldwide and has many causes. The BRIP and Visus Technology, Inc. are committed to developing advanced technologies to provide cosmetically-acceptable and easily portable devices to enhance visual input for the blind. 


Our mission is to develop novel engineering solutions to improve the quality-of-life for visually-impaired patients.


What We've Done

A History of Firsts

The Boston Retinal Implant Team was:

  1. One of two teams to establish the field of retinal prosthetics in the late '80s
  2. The first research team to receive external funding to support retinal prosthetic research
  3. The first to use ultra-thin, microfabricated electrode arrays to deliver electrical stimulation to human retina
  4. The first to establish a high spatial density map of the response of retinal neurons to electrical stimulation
  5. The first to establish that separate channels of retinal neurons could be preferentially activated by altering the parameters of electrical stimulation
  6. The first to develop a wireless retinal prosthesis that could fit around the back of the eyeball
  7. The first to demonstrate insertion of hundreds of "penetrating" electrodes into a large animal retina (as a precursor to human implants) which will permit safer electrical stimulation
  8. The first to use iridium oxide coatings on the stimulatiing electrodes of a retinal prosthesis, which permits use of much smaller electrodes and safer electrical stimulation
  9. The first to demonstrate long-term survival (> 10 years in "accelerated" lifetime "soak" tests) of ultra-thin electrode arrays under electrical pulsing conditions
  10. The first to develop a prototype of "Smart" glasses, which incorporate electronic strategies to produce a cosmetically acceptable device to enhance performance of tasks of routine daily living for visually-impaired patients


Why We're Special

An Extraordinary Team

The Boston Retinal Implant Project (BRIP) was established by Dr. Joseph F. Rizzo and Prof. John Wyatt in the late 1980s as a collaboration among Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The BRIP has grown into a multi-disciplinary team of biologists, engineers and physicians committed to developing novel solutions to help the blind by employing advanced biological and engineering sciences. Our senior research team of 10 scientists have each been with the BRIP for an average of over 13 1/2 years. The BRIP has raised over $36,500,000 in funding to advance the development of its devices. Our researchers have been recognized with numerous awards. Our integrated circuit design work was accepted for presentation at the prestigious IEEE Solid State Circuits Conference, and our work has been featured on the cover of two major scientific and clinical journals. The Department of Veterans Affairs selected our team to establish a Center of Excellence in Visual Rehabilitation at the Boston VA hospital from 2001-2012. Take a look at the Special Recognitions our team and our work have received from various prestigious organizations over the years.


Harvard, Mass Eye and Ear Inf, Mass General, University of Michigan, MIT, Cornell, University of Louisville