- Cha, K; Horch, K; Normann, RA
- A visual prosthesis for the blind using electrical stimulation of the visual cortex will require the development of an array of electrodes. Passage of current through these electrodes is expected to create a visual image made up of a matrix of discrete phosphenes. The quality of the visual sense thus provided will be a function of many parameters, particularly the number of electrodes and their spacing. We are conducting a series of psychophysical experiments with a portable "phosphene" simulator to obtain estimates of suitable values for electrode number and spacing. The simulator consists of a small video camera and monitor worn by a normally sighted human subject. To simulate a discrete phosphene field, the monitor is masked by an opaque perforated film. The visual angle subtended by images from the masked monitor is 1.7° or less, depending on the mask, and falls within the fovea of the subject. In the study presented here, we measured visual acuity as a function of the number of pixels and their spacing in the mask. Visual acuity was inversely proportional to pixel density, and trained subjects could achieve about 20/26 visual acuity with a 1024 pixel image. We conclude that 625 electrodes implanted in a 1 cm by 1 cm area near the foveal representation of the visual cortex should produce a phosphene image with a visual acuity of approximately 20/30. Such an acuity could provide useful restoration of functional vision for the profoundly blind. © 1992 Pergamon Press Ltd.
- July 1, 1992
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