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Visual neuroprosthetics-functional vision for the blind

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1 Author(s)
Normann, R.A. ; Dept. of Bioeng., Utah Univ., Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Recent progress in materials and microfabrication technologies have allowed researchers to reconsider the prospect of providing a useful visual sense to the profoundly blind. This will be accomplished by electrically stimulating their visual systems via an array of implanted microelectrodes. The techniques of the semiconductor industry have been employed to create electrode arrays with three dimensional architectures. These arrays are proving to be safely implantable into the visual parts of the brain of animals with little significant long term consequences. Thus, the tools of neuroprosthetics have been developed to the point that they will soon be used to validate some of the physiological foundations upon which artificial vision have been based. Validation of these foundations will accelerate the rapid pace of this research. If these physiological underpinnings can be shown to be solid, a demonstration of functionally useful vision in blind human volunteers may be possible within a five year time frame

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan/Feb 1995

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