Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Artificial-retina Project Designed To Restore Sight To The Blind

Date:
August 4, 2009
Source:
California Institute Of Technology
Summary:
Research performed at Caltech as part of a collaborative U.S. Department of Energy--funded artificial-retina project designed to restore sight to the blind has received one of R&D Magazine's 2009 R&D 100 Awards. The prize recognizes significant new technologies that exemplify the most innovative ideas of the previous year.

These images aproximate what patients with retinal devices ideally could see. It is hoped that increasing the number of electrodes will result in more visual perceptions and higher-resolution vision.
Credit: California Institute of Technology

Research performed at Caltech as part of a collaborative U.S. Department of Energy–funded artificial-retina project designed to restore sight to the blind has received one of R&D Magazine's 2009 R&D 100 Awards. The prize recognizes significant new technologies that exemplify the most innovative ideas of the previous year.

The artificial retina is a bioelectronic implant that aims to give people with age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa—two severe forms of retinal degeneration that lead to blindness—the ability to recognize objects and navigate through their environment. It works via a camera mounted on a pair of glasses, which sends visual information to an implanted electronic receiver.

It is here that Caltech's expertise comes into play. As principal investigator on Caltech's portion of the artificial retina project—which is led by researchers at USC's Keck School of Medicine—Wolfgang Fink, a visiting associate in physics at Caltech and a senior researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Caltech colleague Mark Tarbell have devised and implemented a versatile image-processing software system called the Artificial Retinal Implant Vision Simulator (ARIVS). The ARIVS software system enhances and processes the images captured by the miniature camera in real time according to individually selectable image filters; those ARIVS-processed images are then transmitted to the artificial retina's electrode array.

The electrodes, in turn, stimulate the eye's unharmed retinal ganglion cells, which then transmit their own signals through the optic nerve to the part of the brain known as the visual cortex. From these nerve impulses, the brain creates a visual picture.

To optimize this visual perception, Caltech's Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory, under Fink's direction, has also devised and implemented computer algorithms that assist in translating the ARIVS-processed images into useful electrical stimulation of the ganglion cells by means of an iterative process much like that used to determine an eyeglass prescription. Currently, 29 patients have had artificial retina systems implanted as part of clinical trials. The most recent version of the implant features an array of 60 pixels, allowing users to distinguish between light and dark, and see certain distinct objects. The ultimate goal, according to the research team, is to allow for reading and face recognition by increasing the number of pixels to 1,000.

Five national laboratories, four universities, and a private company are involved in the Artificial Retina Project. They are Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories, USC (Doheny Eye Institute), Caltech, North Carolina State University, and UC Santa Cruz. The industrial partner, Second Sight® Medical Products, Inc., is responsible for commercializing the product and conducting clinical trials.

R&D Magazine has been showcasing new technologies with its R&D 100 Award since 1963. In 2008, Morteza Gharib, the Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and professor of bioengineering at Caltech, received the award for the creation of a three-dimensional camera with a vast array of possibilities, ranging from 3-D movement tracking for rehabilitation to underwater surveillance.

For a full list of the 2009 R&D 100 winners, go to http://www.rdmag.com/awards.html, and to learn more about Fink's Caltech lab, go to http://autonomy.caltech.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by California Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

California Institute Of Technology. "Artificial-retina Project Designed To Restore Sight To The Blind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804132810.htm>.
California Institute Of Technology. (2009, August 4). Artificial-retina Project Designed To Restore Sight To The Blind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804132810.htm
California Institute Of Technology. "Artificial-retina Project Designed To Restore Sight To The Blind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804132810.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins