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  • Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, Faculty of Engineering

    Israeli Foreign Minister Cites Bar-Ilan University's Bionic Contact Lens at Prestigious European Ceremony

    Date: 2014-01-20 Hour: 13:16

    At an official ceremony in Geneva marking Israel's admission as a full member of CERN, the prestigious European organization for nuclear research, Israel's foreign minister cited a Bar-Ilan University discovery as one of Israel's most noteworthy developments.

    "Some inventions that were developed in Israel make breakthroughs which help improve people's lives.  For example, Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, from Bar-Ilan University, has developed a bionic contact lens to help the blind see," said Foreign Minister Lieberman at the ceremony.  Foreign Minister Lieberman's comments were published by the European Jewish Press, an online Jewish news agency.

    Fitted and worn like a regular contact lens, this new invention is manufactured with electrodes, which get signals from a camera – either held in the hand or worn on one’s glasses.  When a user looks or points the camera to an object -- a door, a person, letters on paper -- the camera translates the image to a type of electronic Braille, and the contact lens “excites” the retina with tactile sensations. “It’s like reading Braille, not with your fingertips but with your eyes,” says Zalevsky, of the Faculty of Engineering. “We can encode an image with many more points than the Braille system and use these to stimulate the surface of the cornea.”

    At the ceremony Israel became the 21st country to join and the first non-European member state of CERN.  Israel's admission to the organization will allow it to become more rapidly involved in the range of scientific, research, industrial and educational activities of CERN.

    Israeli scientists have collaborated with CERN for many years, including on projects involving its underground atomic collider, located in Switzerland.  Israel became the first associate member of Cern in September 2011 after the council voted to expand its membership.  Israel's formal association with CERN began in 1991, when it was granted observer status.

    "The Israeli scientific community has brought a great deal to CERN of the years," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer.  "As a member of the fact-finding mission that assessed Israel's readiness for CERN membership, I was extremely impressed with the quality of Israeli research and researchers," added CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci.