A retinal camera-on-a-chip is proposed. The chip is used for two purposes: 1) it provides a computationally powerful camera to drive a visual prosthetic; and 2) it serves as a "hypothesis generator" for proving the patterns of activity that must be generated by the camera. The design of the chip is based on cellular neural network technology, a massively parallel analog processor of enormous power. The patterns are based upon physiological studies of the massively parallel output patterns measured in living retinas. The device is capable of generating a series of simultaneous retina-like output patterns that can be introduced either at the optic nerve or visual cortex as an interactive visual prosthetic camera, controlled by both the user and the visual environment.