Fun_People Archive
18 Jan
Computer Vision

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 100 12:02:40 -0800
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Computer Vision

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: Eric Scheid

For those of you who remember a recent story about (mad) scientists hooking
electrodes up to the optic nerve of a cat and synthesing images of what
the can can see...

New York, NY, January 18, 2000 - A biomedical engineering team today
announced development of an artificial vision system providing independent
mobility to blind people. The system, reflecting more than 30 years in
development work by the Dobelle Institute in New York City and its
affiliates on Long Island and in Switzerland, enables a totally blind person
to achieve visual acuity of about 20/400, in a narrow visual "tunnel."

The "Dobelle Eye," as described in the current issue of the ASAIO Journal
(the journal of American Society of Artificial Internal Organs) and in
companion commentaries in Nature and Lancet, consists of a sub-miniature
television camera and an ultrasonic distance sensor, both of which are
mounted on a pair of eyeglasses. The sensors connect through a cable to a
miniature computer, which is worn in a pack on a person's belt. After
processing the video and distance signals, the computer uses sophisticated
computer-imaging technology, including edge-detection algorithms to simplify
the image eliminating "noise." The computer then triggers a second
microcomputer that transmits pulses to an array of 68 platinum electrodes
implanted on the surface of the brain's visual cortex. Bringing wires
through the skin for two decades without discomfort or infection is one of
many independent inventions that has made the new visual prosthesis

The patient in the study reported in ASAIO Journal is a 62-year-old male
who was totally blinded by trauma when he was 36 years old. After learning
to use the system and "read" the display, the patient is now able to read
two inch tall letters at a distance of five feet, representing a visual
acuity of about 20/400. Although the relatively small electrode array
produces tunnel vision, the patient is also able to navigate in unfamiliar
environments including the New York City subway system. By replacing the
sub-miniature television camera with a special electronic interface, the
patient is also learning to "watch" television, use a computer, and gain
access to the Internet.

The computer package employed in the initial system was the size of a large
bookcase and weighed several thousand pounds. After six generations of
improvement over the last 21 years, the external electronics package has
now been miniaturized so it is about the size of a dictionary and weighs
approximately ten pounds, including batteries.

more at <>


prev [=] prev © 2000 Peter Langston []