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 July 30, 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 July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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