Psycho-signal processing to enhance vision quality in patients with retinal prostheses
Photoreceptor degenerative diseases are the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in United States. Recent advances in the development of bionic eyes have provided some visual function to blind patients. In bionic eyes, an externally-worn camera captures images from the field-of-view. These images are transferred to a microprocessor that compresses the camera's information and converts the data to electronic signals, which are then transmitted to an implantable retinal prosthesis. However, the image resolution experienced by these patients is limited by the number of implanted electrodes on the retina, and the maximum number of electrodes is limited due to the space constraints on the prosthesis as well as on the patient's eye.
The system uses a software-based approach to improve a patient's perceived vision without making any changes to the patient's existing imaging assistance hardware. The software is designed to take advantage of the brain's inherent spatio-temporal image fusion abilities, or "super-resolution" (SR) abilities. A real-time processing algorithm receives and analyzes the dynamic structure of images captured by the patient's camera, and then it transforms them into a compressed video with smooth motion. This modified video is then supplied to the patient's existing electrodes, and the brain itself provides a final processing step to create a higher resolution image.
- Non-invasive; can be adapted to a user's existing imaging system
- Reduces the need for the user to manually scan an area by head motion
- Can be used as a diagnostic aid to determine a user's visual acuity