Uchicago receives .4 million nih grant to build visual prosthesis _ scienmag_ latest science and health news

The project’s goal is to create a system that converts input from a camera into electrical stimulations that produce useful visual perception in the brain. Auto backup software Although not a complete restoration of natural sight, the technology could drastically improve quality of life for people who have lost their vision through injury or illness.

“We want to create a stable, usable interface in which we stimulate the brain to induce perceptions of vision,” said Philip Troyk, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and principal investigator for the project.


What is backup software and why is it used “The next level of success would be that the subjects are able to use the devices with a portable system in a way that significantly improves their quality of life.”

Troyk, who is also a faculty associate in the section of neurosurgery at UChicago, was awarded a $1 million grant in 1996 to develop an early visual prosthetic. Free backup software mac Several months into the project, the NIH cancelled its plans for human research. Best open source backup software But Troyk and his collaborator, Vernon (Leo) Towle, PhD, professor of neurology at UChicago, kept working on related projects with other researchers.

Now, Towle has formed a multidisciplinary team from UChicago, involving faculty from neurosurgery, psychiatry, ophthalmology, neurophysiology and The Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior to work on the latest NIH-backed effort. Best blu ray backup software They join six other institutions awarded subcontracts through IIT as part of a larger $11.7 million project funded by the White House BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).

The new project will consist of two phases: a 2-year “preclinical” phase to develop the technology, followed by a 3-year clinical phase testing the system in human subjects. Open source backup software windows The university’s neuroscientists and surgeons will develop and refine surgical procedures during the preclinical phase, then surgically implant the devices during the clinical phase.

Restoring vision is often seen as the “Holy Grail” of neural prosthetics, also known as brain-machine interfaces. Network backup software free Beginning in the 1960s with meetings at UChicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists have long dreamed of ways to connect electronics directly to the brain to restore sight. Disk backup software free Starting in the 1970s, the NIH began funding various projects to understand the underlying biology and neuroscience of such systems.

Previous attempts at building neural-visual interfaces used circuit boards and wires that required subjects to be physically connected to bulky or stationary equipment. Best disk backup software The system proposed for the new project is centered around tiny devices called wireless floating microelectrode arrays, discs about five millimeters in diameter consisting of a computer chip on a ceramic substrate, surrounded by a coil for wireless communication, with 16 electrode pins that are smaller than the width of a human hair.

The electrodes will be implanted into up to 600 sites on each side of the brain’s visual cortex, located near the back of the head. Best system backup software Initially, the system will work only for people who were born with sight and lost it through injury or illness, because those patients have a fully developed visual cortex for processing images. Backup computer software The subject will wear glasses equipped with a cell-phone camera, which is connected to a small computer worn in a pouch. Win backup software The computer will convert images from the camera into electrical impulses that will be transmitted to the brain implants through a device worn in a headband.

The electrical impulses will stimulate the visual cortex and generate individual points of light called phosphenes in what would be the subject’s normal field of vision. Best backup software for android Perceptions of where these phosphenes appear differ from individual to individual, so researchers will need to perform rigorous tests to map each stimulus to its resulting visual location and develop software algorithms to assemble these signals into useful visual information for each subject.

The resulting images would begin to form outlines of shapes that subjects could use to navigate or identify objects. Software for backup These images should resemble the classic Lite Brite toy, where you poke holes in a sheet of paper that reveal a pattern when light shines through.

“Early on, when people talked about artificial vision, they thought it could help blind people play baseball and perform demanding visual tasks like that. Folder backup software Not quite,” said Towle. Windows 7 free backup software “But we know from preliminary work by our collaborators at Johns Hopkins, where people put on goggles to simulate this, people can learn very quickly. Best free incremental backup software It’s remarkable the things they can do when they have to rely on only a few signals.”

The devices are designed to be permanent, and the team plans to support subjects after the study ends, because even the smallest improvement in vision can have tremendous practical and emotional impact.

“With the technology we have, restoration that mimics biological vision as we know it won’t be possible. Website backup software I like to say, at this stage we’re trying to convert someone who’s totally blind into someone who’s just legally blind,” Troyk said. Best software for backup “But we shouldn’t underestimate how even a little visual information would make a significant improvement in quality of life for people who have no vision now.”

In addition to UChicago and IIT, the project team includes researchers from several institutions and organizations who have been collaborating since 2000: Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas, Dallas; MicroProbes for Life Science and Sigenics, Inc., two electronic component manufacturers; and the Chicago Lighthouse, a social services organization serving the visually impaired.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders And Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UG3NS095557. Driver backup software download The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

The University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences is one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions. Free ftp backup software It comprises the Pritzker School of Medicine, a top 10 medical school in the nation; the University of Chicago Biomedical Sciences Division; and the University of Chicago Medical Center, which recently opened the Center for Care and Discovery, a $700 million specialty medical facility. Samsung pc auto backup software download Twelve Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine have been affiliated with the University of Chicago Medicine.

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