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This paper describes the efforts of MIT and the Massachussetts Eye Infirmary over the past 15 years to develop a chronically implantable retinal prosthesis. The goal is to restore some useful level of vision to patients suffering from outer retinal diseases, primarily retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. We initially planned to build an intraocular implant, wirelessly supplied with signal and power, to stimulate the surviving cells of the retina. In this design, electrical stimulation is applied. A series of six acute surgical trial is carried out on human volunteers to asses the electrical thresholds and the perceptions resulting from epiretinal retinal stimulation.