Part of PAL 2012. Alternating Mondays at noon, 340A Baker Hall.
Seminar Title: Visual Prostheses for the Blind Presenter: Shawn K. Kelly, PhD. Location: Scaide Auditorium at CMU Refreshments at 4pm.
Abstract: Several groups worldwide are working to develop visual prostheses to restore useful functional vision to the blind. These devices deliver electrical stimulation to nerves in the visual pathway (or sometimes other areas, like the tongue) to create the representation of pixelated images.
The Boston Retinal Implant Project is developing and testing a chronically-implantable subretinal visual prosthesis that will stimulate retinal nerves of patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. We showed the viability of the concept in a series of six acute epiretinal stimulation trials with blind volunteers between 1998 and 2000. We determined that a subretinal approach provides the safest and most stable placement for the stimulating electrode array and electronics, and have since pursued a chronically-implantable subretinal prosthesis that receives power and data wirelessly.
We have developed several generations of prostheses, progressively adding functionality, increasing the number of channels, and assembling the implants into titanium hermetic cases. We have surgically implanted three generations of prostheses into Yucatan minipigs, for up to one year, and are actively developing a device suitable for clinical trials, which we expect to begin within 2-3 years. Progress made and hurdles faced by the Boston Retinal Implant and the visual prosthesis field will be discussed.