Current retinal prostheses are designed to be used with an external (extraocular) camera mounted in a pair of glasses V awkward because subjects must move their heads in order to scan the environment. The miniaturized prototype being developed by the USC team would be directly implantable and would allow for natural eye and head movements.
In order to optimize the design constraints for their ultra-miniature camera, the group performed a series of studies to determine the minimum requirements for vision-related tasks like object recognition, face recognition, navigation, and mobility. They found that surprisingly few pixels were required to achieve good results for many of those tasks: approximately 625 pixels in total, compared to more than a million for a typical computer display. They also found that in many cases blurring images V both before and after they were converted into pixels Vresulted in significantly improved object recognition and tracking V even better for moving objects than for static ones.
Taken together, these findings have made it possible to substantially relax the once extremely stringent design requirements of key components of the intraocular camera, thereby reducing the prototype intraocular camera's size and weight from an object the size of a Tylenol tablet down to an object that is now about one-third the size of a Tic-Tac. Early prototypes have been highly successful in initial tests, although human FDA trials are still at least two years out. (Paper FThT1, "Intraocular Camera for Retinal Prostheses: Design Constraints Based on Visual Psychophysics")
Near-Infrared LIDAR Helps Pilots
Airline pilots will have more advance warning of potentially hazardous atmospheric conditions V such as icing V using a new near-infrared Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system developed by scientists at RL Associates in Chester, Pa. The system, now in a prototype testi
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Optical Society of America