6th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Lotfi Merabet

Visual Neuroprosthesis Development: The Implications of Neuroplasticity
Multiple Paper Presentation

Lotfi Merabet
Neurology and Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Joseph Rizzo
Neuro ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

     Abstract ID Number: 7

Sophisticated microelectronic devices have been developed in the hopes of restoring functional vision in the blind. All visual neuroprostheses designs share the premise that patterned sensations of light (“phosphenes”) can be produced by stimulating intact structures of the visual pathway. Initial work has been encouraging however, the demonstration of truly restored functional vision awaits conclusive evidence. We believe that the greatest impediment to future development are not the remaining technical challenges but rather, our ignorance of how best to introduce meaningful information to the visually deprived brain. Growing experimental evidence indicates that the occipital visual cortex undergoes profound changes in response to the loss of sight. We propose that sensory information obtained by other sources (namely touch and hearing) may assist in developing a sensory-neural interface for blind patients learning to use a visual prosthesis and enhance the merger between what is perceived visually with what is generated electrically.

To be Presented at the Following Symposium:
Can the Blind See?
Other papers in this Symposium:

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