When it comes to the realms of science fiction and speculation, we've got a bit of a fascination with eyes, you might have noticed. Whether it's the refrigerated swap-shop in Blade Runner, an endless list of red-overlaid robot's eye views from the likes of The Terminator or Robocop, or using their expressive nature as a window the soul in I, Robot or AI, they feature constantly in films about robots and cyborgs.
Well, don't get too comfortable with the idea that these prosthetics are decades or centuries away - scientists are hard at work on manufactured eyes that could even supercede the ability of the homegrown human version.
In fact, a publication in prestigious journal Nature this week has brought this even closer to reality, detailing the work of a Professor Zhiyong Fan, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who's been working for some time on bionic eyes.
His and his team's new paper, elegantly titled "A biomimetic eye with a hemispherical perovskite nanowire array retina", details a 3D entirely artificial eyeball that they've built, which effectively mimics the actions of the human eye.
As the paper's abstract affirms, it's worth remembering that the human eye is insanely sophisticated - compare its field of view, resolution and colour-sensing to any of the world's most expensive cameras and that'll be underlined.
The team used a dense array of nanowires to apparently replace the photoreceptors used by the human eye's retina, which has been a stumbling block for other projects. It's able to sense and detect objects with a good deal of precision, as a result - in fact, it has 30 more photoreceptors than the human eye, making for a potentially superior degree of perception, eventually.
This potentially opens the way for a heck of a lot of applications, most of them likely not involving a creepy human-looking eye surveying processes, but also for the continued development of what are effectively cybernetic implants. It's a brave new world out there, folks.