Saft’s Li-ion system expertise delivers advanced power pack for Pixium Vision's IRIS® bionic vision system

(21/04/2015)
Saft has worked with Pixium Vision, a French high-tech medical company, to develop and manufacture compact, reliable and user-friendly Li-ion battery packs to power its best-in-class vision restoration system.

Paris, April 21st, 2015 – Saft, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, has worked with Pixium Vision to develop and manufacture state-of-the-art rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs to power an innovative system that will help the fight against blindness. The Saft battery packs provide Pixium Vision's patient centric approach with a lightweight and high-performance portable power source for the innovative IRIS® (Intelligent Retinal Implant System) bionic vision system that allows patients who have lost their sight to lead more independent lives. The battery pack is designed to fully comply with applicable medical standards.

IRIS® offers the possibility to restore useful vision to people who have experienced severe sight loss. The system is made up of three separate components: a pair of glasses that integrate a revolutionary neuromorphic camera, the Saft Li-ion battery-powered pocket computer that turns the camera’s pictures into digital data signals, and a retinal implant that receives data and inductive power from the glasses and which activates the retina through 150 tiny electrodes. The optic nerve carries electrical signals to the brain, which turns them into an image, enabling people who suffer incurable vision loss to see with the help of the technology.

IRIS® is designed to help people overcome vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa, usher syndrome, cone-rod dystrophy, age related macular degeneration, characterised by loss of the light-sensitive retinal cell at the back of the eyeball. According to the World Health Organization, around 285 million people live with vision impairement, including 36 million who are completely blind.

Saft’s is making a major contribution to the IRIS® project through its expertise in the design, development and industrialization of complex, miniaturized Li-ion battery systems. As well as qualifying the single cell performances, Saft is assembling the battery systems by combining the individual cells with the complex electronics that are essential to achieve high levels of performance and reliability over a long life.

“The Li-ion battery system is critical to the success of IRIS, not only in providing reliable autonomous power, but also in helping to minimise the size and weight of the overall system to make it as easy and comfortable to use as possible. Our proven expertise in the design and volume manufacture of battery systems for high-tech medical applications, as well as our strong support for medical approvals, were key factors in Pixium Vision’s decision to work with Saft,” said Ben Helminem, Director of Marketing and Strategic Development at Saft’s SBG division.

The first generation IRIS® device is now undergoing clinical trials and Pixium Vision’s objective is to deliver light and shape perception and give patients the ability to negotiate unfamiliar environments.