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Gentle touch and the bionic eye
Date:5/1/2013

sensor. One can imagine that during the next few years artificial retinas will become more sophisticated and their resolution will increase. The limiting factor is the ability of the brain to be retrained to understand the input from these devices. Van Doorn and colleagues Barry Richardson and Dianne Wuillemin, experts in virtual reality, bionics and tactile technologies are now investigating how a haptic device might help. They suggest that exploiting multisensory processes will allow cross-calibration of information from the environment as well as assisting in teaching recipients of visual prosthetics to filter out noise, just as the brains of sighted individuals are able to do when looking at an object or scene.

The concepts are not unrelated to the ability of Braille readers to "see" text and deaf people to "hear" sign language. There are, however, critical periods in development when the brain is most receptive and plastic. Even poor sensory information is better than none at all, the team explains, provided that the different inputs correlate - from a visual prosthetic and haptic device, for instance - all tell the same story about the world. "The inescapable conclusion is that, if the aim of a bionic eye, or equivalent, is to restore functional vision in the young or less young, then a visual prosthetic must operate in a multimodal context in which haptics will be a major player," the researchers conclude.


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Contact: Albert Ang
press@inderscience.com
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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