Researchers develop a method of reviving a degree of vision and stimulating the visual cortex for blind people

Service Engineering

A method, of reviving a degree of vision and stimulating the visual cortex for blind people, has been published by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

In the journal, Cell, the researchers presented a way in which implanted electrodes are stimulated in a complex series, effectively observing forms on the visual cortex surface, that cooperators were able to witness.

“Researchers develop a method of reviving a degree of vision and stimulating the visual cortex for blind people.“

The approach was tested in four sighted individuals who had electrodes implemented in their brains to monitor epilepsy, as well as two blind people with electrodes applied over their visual cortex as part of a visual cortical prosthesis study. The approach illustrated those blind people could reacquire the ability to identify visual forms through technology.

Daniel Yoshor, the senior author, stated: “When we used electrical stimulation to dynamically trace letters directly on patient's brains, they were able to see the intended letter shapes and could correctly identify different letters. They described seeing glowing spots or lines forming the letters like skywriting.”

Michael Beauchamp, the first author, stated: “Rather than trying to build shapes from multiple spots of light, we traced outlines. Our inspiration for this was the idea of tracing a letter in the palm of someone’s hand. The primary visual cortex, where the electrodes were implanted, contains half a billion neurons. In this study, we stimulated only a small fraction of these neurons with a handful of electrodes. An important next step will be to work with neuro engineers to develop electrode arrays with thousands of electrodes, allowing us to stimulate more precisely. Together with new hardware, improved stimulation algorithms will help realise the dream of delivering useful visual information to blind people.”

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