Henry Ford Health System Partners with Car Designers in Bionic Vision

February 09, 2017

DETROIT – The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO) has launched a short online film, “Vision & Visionaries,” which illustrates the contributions of car designers to researchers and clinicians working to restore some level of vision to the blind.


The Grosse Pointe Park-based DIO is a division of Henry Ford Health System’s Department of Ophthalmology.


Designers from around the world gather twice a year to help fund this groundbreaking research — at the EyesOn Design Awards at the North American International Auto Show and a car show in June.


Henry Ford’s commitment to developing visual prosthetics includes device research and hosting the world’s leading research congress, called The Eye and The Chip. The congress brings together more than 30 internationally renowned scientists from across the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East to collaborate and discuss their advances and challenges in the global pursuit of artificial vision.


The institute hosts two biennial world research congresses. In alternate years, The Eye, The Brain, and The Auto addresses issues related to vision and safe driving.


“This three-day congress is the world’s leading meeting on artificial vision,” says Philip Hessburg, M.D., medical director of the DIO. “The gathering enables the exchange of scientific advances among international researchers. The collaborative relationships created help to advance research at a faster pace.”


The film highlights how leading automotive designers and automotive manufacturers have supported the research initiative for more than 30 years. Jack Telnack, retired vice president of design, Ford Motor Company; Michael Simcoe, vice president, global design, General Motors; and Mark Trostle, director of Dodge and SRT design, FCA North America discuss their involvement with EyesOn Design.


The film was first shown at the EyesOn Design Awards at the North American International Auto Show, and can now be seen on YouTube or HenryFord.com. It was produced by Brophy with contributions from local car collectors.


“Through the contributions of global automotive manufacturers, automotive suppliers and so many others, Henry Ford can tackle the big ideas in healthcare that will truly transform people’s lives,” says Peggy Burns, senior vice president, Development, Henry Ford Health System.