Blindness is often caused by corneal diseases. The established treatment is a corneal transplant, but in many cases this is not possible and donor corneas are often hard to come by. In the future, an artificial cornea could make up for this deficiency and save the vision of those affected.
“We are in the process of developing two different types of artificial corneas. One of them can be used as an alternative to a donor cornea in cases where the patient would not tolerate a donor cornea, let alone the issue of donor material shortage,” says IAP project manager Dr. Joachim Storsberg.
The scientist has considerable expertise in developing and testing of next-generation biomaterials. Between 2005 and 2009 he collaborated with interdisciplinary teams and private companies to successfully develop an artificial cornea specifically for patients whose cornea had become clouded – a condition that is extremely difficult to treat. Such patients are unable to accept a donor cornea either due to their illness or because they have already been through several unsuccessful transplantation attempts. Dr. Storsberg was awarded the Josef-von-Fraunhofer Prize 2010 for this achievement. “A great many patients suffering from a range of conditions will be able to benefit from our new implant, which we’ve named ArtCornea®. We have already registered ArtCornea® as a trademark,” reports Storsberg.
Most of the robots were essentially mechanized physical therapeutic devices. The Walk Training Assist Robot, for instance, could mount on a paralyzed leg, detect when a patient wants to move, and then help the knee and leg swing forward….. A second, related, product, the Independent Walk Assist, can support the patient’s full weight at first, gradually bearing less and less of the load as the patient improves and can support himself.