Restoring Vision Through Science
The Power of Sight
Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc. was founded in 2012 to commercialize the research of the Boston Retinal Implant Project (BRIP). The co-founders of the BRIP were also the founders of Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc. The business and technical leaders of this prosthetic company are described below. 

Bionic Eye Technologies develops a retinal prosthesis that is used in the sub-retinal area of the eye. The prosthesis offers advantages over the competing epiretinal devices by providing a lower risk of eye infection, reduced erosion through the delicate tissues that cover the front of the eye (i.e. the conjunctiva), and the ability to place stimulating electrodes closer to retinal nerve cells. The technique improves safety of the device and enhances visual outcomes.
Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc.
Key Personnel
Richard Birney
Chief Executive Officer
Chairman of Board
Richard was asked by the founders to license the technologies of BRIP for MIT and MEEI and build Bionic Eye Technologies company to commercialize the research of the BRIP research.

Richard advises clients in the areas of enterprise technology, cloud initiatives, medicaldevices and semiconductors. He is Chairman of Investment Committee for Option 3 Ventures and a Senior Advisor to Spurrier Capital Partners. His passion is to help young companies create sound business models and growth strategies.
Richard was formerly VP Corporate Development at IBM with responsibility for strategic investments and growth strategies. Richard had a distinguished career with IBM spanning 36 years. His experience includes 16 years of investment leadership and 20 years of operational leadership across multiple product lines and international markets.

Over the last decade at IBM, Richard led a worldwide team to identify companies for strategic partnership or acquisition by IBM. He led growth initiatives in emerging geographies and technologies. He also advised fortune 500 companies on IBM's M&A processes. Among may accomplishments, Richard developed a fund investing strategy that delivered a high(>30%) IRR. He developed and investment and deal sourcing strategy for emerging countries, including China, India, Israel, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He managed over $500 million in investments around the world and received industry recognition for developing best practices in M&A processes. HE also developed strategies for IBM to compete by acquiring new technologies in mobile services, financial services, networking, cloud computing, clean tech and semiconductor manufacturing.

Richard is also an inventor of a number of advancement in computer technology, holdingseveral patents with many foreign filings (over 70 total). Richard frequently spoke at VC and PE investment conferences. 
RIchard served as a White House Fellow in 1981-1982 and was selected as "Outstanding Young Engineer " by Eta Kappa Nu in 1978. He has a MSEE from the University of Texas. He served on the boardof directors of Ormet Technologies, until acquired by Merck. He serves on two non-profit boards. One provides a camp fo inner city children, the other works with children of a terminally ill parent. He also remains active with the White House Fellows Association.
Dr. Joseph Rizzo III, M.D.
Medical Director, Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary
Founder of Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Joseph Rizzo is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and a graduate of Louisiana State University Medical School.He received the Dean's Award in recognition of outstanding leadership and performance. He completed an internship in Adult Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. His initial residency was in Neurology at Tufts University-New England Medical Center, followed by a residency in Ophthalmology at Boston University. A clinical fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology was performed under Dr. Simmons Lessell in the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Rizzo is board certified in Ophthalmology and Neurology. Following completion of clinical training, Dr. Rizzo joined the full-time academic faculty of Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and received a five-year Physician Training Award from the National Institutes of Health. His laboratory training was under the supervision of his research mentor, Richard Masland, Ph.D.

The Boston Retinal Implant Project was initiated by Dr. Rizzo in 1988. SInce then, he has divided his professional time equally between the evaluation of patients with Neuro-Ophthalmic disease and the direction of the Boston Retinal Implant Project.
John Wyatt, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering
CO- Founder of Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc.

Dr. John Wyatt (deceased) was the former head of the MIT engineering team for the Boston Retinal Implant Project. He oversaw the system development and circuit design of four generations of the implant device. Dr.Wyatt grew up in Nashville, TN but moved on to receive his B.S. from MIT in 1968 and a Ph.D. from U.C Berkeley in 1079. His first research on the retina occurred at Berkeley in the lab of Professor Frank Werblin. Professor Wyatt's doctoral dissertation included research on how flows and forces in circuits could be used to model biological processes. He expanded this work during his post-doctoral research at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).

MIT recruited Dr. Wyatt from MCV to join the faculty in Electrical Engineering at MIT (1979). MIT awarded him tenure in 1985. His early work at MIT focused on circuit theory and its application to integrated circuits. He expanded this interest into research on Machine Vision and Focal Plane Image Processing. In partnership with Dr. Rizzo, Dr. Wyatt founded the Boston Retinal Implant Project in 1988, and spent the rest of his years developing and fabricating models of an implant device for the eye. Dr. Wyatt performed consulting for numerous technology and government institutions, including DARPA. He published numerous articles, received 11 patents, and was awarded the Jules Stein Living Tribute award by the Retinitis Pigmentosa International Foundation.
Douglas Shire, Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering
Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Shire received his B.S.E.E. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 1989. Dr. Shire initiated his career at Hewlett Packard in the Optoelectronics Division. In 1994, Dr. Shire returned to Cornell as a Postdoctorate Associate and a Visiting Scientist. During this period, he also served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Syracuse University. 

In 1997 Dr. Shire joined with Dr. Wyatt to assist with the development of the Retinal Implant Project. Dr. Shire developed the microfabrication processes for electrode arrays and developed the system package for the retinal implant. Dr. Shire performed much of his work under grants from the VA and NIH, while utilizing the Nanotech Center at Cornell.

Since 2006, Dr. Shire serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Bionic Eye Technologies where he is responsible for the overall development of the implant systems. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, IEEE EMBS, and ARVO.

Shawn K. Kelly, Ph.D.

Director of Electrical Systems

Dr. Kelly received the S.B., M.Eng., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996, 1998, and 2003, respectively. He joined the BRIP project in 1996 and developed a portable stimulator for human trials for his masters degree and a novel low-power neural stimulator chip for his doctorate. He now serves as a Professor at Carnegie Melon and a Research Biomedical Engineer with the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Dr.Kelly leads the design and testing of the electrical systems in the retinal implant for Bionic Eye Technologies. Dr. Kelly’s areas of interest include neural stimulator design, the electrode/tissue interface, wireless power transmission, and power management.

Bionic Eye Technologies Board of Directors
Richard Birney, Chairman
Christie Baxter

Technical Advisory Board 
Joseph Rizzo, M.D., Chairman