, tree branches, and the human nervous system have in common? They're all defined by fractal geometry - that is, they're made up of self-similar patterns that replicate across different scales.
University of Oregon professor Richard Taylor has been studying fractals for decades. This week, he and collaborator Simon Brown were granted a patent on a new technology that uses fractal geometry to interface between electronics and biological organisms. Unlike existing technologies, Taylor says, these implants mimic biological systems. They're so sensitive that they could actually restore connections between the retina and the brain in people with certain types of vision loss.
And that's just one application of the technology. Taylor says it could also be used to help map the brain, develop groundbreaking prosthetics, and even create artificial sight.
- Richard Taylor: Professor of physics, psychology, and art at the University of Oregon