$2.4M GRANT TO SUPPORT ‘ARTIFICIAL VISION’ TECHONOLOGY FOR BLIND

Second Sight Medical Products Inc., a maker of implantable visual prosthetics intended to create an artificial form of vision for blind individuals, has received a $2.4 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop spatial localization and mapping (SLAM) technology.

The initiative is intended to speed the integration of SLAM into next-generation versions of the company’s Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis System. It’s a joint collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). Second Sight and APL will use the NIH grant to capitalize on recent advances in computer vision, including object recognition, depth sensing and SLAM, to augment the existing capabilities of Orion. The goal is to give Orion users the ability to localize objects and navigate landmarks in unfamiliar surroundings in real time.

APL will take the lead in developing the SLAM technology, while Second Sight will be responsible for its integration and subsequent clinical deployment. The research is supported by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Leveraging Second Sight’s 20 years of experience in neuromodulation for vision, Orion is an implanted cortical stimulation device for individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, and eye injury. Orion is intended to convert images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on glasses into a series of small electrical pulses. The device is designed to bypass diseased or injured eye anatomy and to transmit the electrical pulses wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the brain’s visual cortex, where it is intended to provide the perception of patterns of light.

A six-subject early feasibility study of the Orion is currently underway at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Source: Invision Magazine




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