One of the first symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa is night vision loss. As the condition worsens, peripheral vision is gradually lost, until there is only a single point of light—or none at all. Researchers at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California (USC) are giving people with this genetic eye condition hope for restored sight.
Using MathWorks tools, Doheny Eye Institute and its industrial partner Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. are developing a second-generation retinal prosthesis that stimulates nerve cells. The system includes an external camera and real-time software to acquire, process, and convert images into stimulus signals that are delivered to retinal nerve cells through an implanted electronic chip.
The first generation of the investigational implant has produced light perception and basic pattern recognition in patients. The second generation of the implant will increase the resolution of the image from 16 pixels to 60, with subsequent generations featuring higher resolutions, enabling patients to recognize faces and read.
"Improving resolution will be a tremendous step forward," says Dr. James Weiland, Associate Professor at the Doheny Eye Institute. "To make the most of this technology, we need real-time image processing algorithms. MathWorks tools are enabling us to rapidly evaluate, implement, optimize, and test these algorithms on embedded hardware."