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Psychophysics of Prosthetic Vision: I. Visual Scanning and Visual Acuity

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4 Author(s)
Chen, S.C. ; Graduate Sch. of Biomed. Eng., New South Wales Univ., Sydney, NSW ; Hallum, L.E. ; Suaning, G.J. ; Lovell, N.H.

Recipients of vision prosthesis prototypes have reported electrically elicited visual perceptions as discrete dots of light (phosphenes). Phosphenes construct the scenery in discontinuous small isolated patches, resulting in visual information deficit to a large portion of the visual field. Visual scanning therefore plays an important role in the utility of prosthetic vision. In a psychophysical study, normally sighted subjects undertook a visual acuity task in a simulation of prosthetic vision with scanning facilitated by head movements. Subjects who adopted the circular scanning technique (4/12) correctly identified >60% of the test items, compared to subjects with no particular scanning patterns (3/12) with <50%. Increased head movement velocity was correlated to increased performance; at optimal scanning velocities, we estimated a 50% increase in identification rate or a two-fold improvement in visual acuity threshold compared to otherwise complete lack of scanning movement. Improved performance likely resulted from positive interactions with the temporal processes of the human visual system, which may as much as double the spatial information of that originally afforded by the phosphene lattice

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2006. EMBS '06. 28th Annual International Conference of the IEEE

Date of Conference:

Aug. 30 2006-Sept. 3 2006