Intracortical Visual Prosthesis

The Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP) is a type of implant that bypasses the optic nerves and the retina to link directly to the brain’s visual cortex. At Rush University Medical Center, this was successfully placed surgically in the study’s first participant.

Overview:

  • The surgery that was conducted is a part of Phase I Feasibility Study of an Intracortical Visual Prosthesis for Blind People.
  • The ICVP system was developed by a team which is led by Philip R. Troyk, executive director of Illinois Institute of Technology’s Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering.
  • This research represents nearly three decades that were dedicated to providing artificial sight to those who have lost their sight due to eye disease or trauma.

About Intracortical Visual Prosthesis

The Intracortical Visual Prosthesis System is the first intracortical visual implant that uses a collection of fully implanted tiny wireless stimulators to see if blind people can benefit from the artificial vision it provides.

This visual prosthesis method allows the devices to be permanently implanted, which is an advantage that gives researchers plenty of time to figure out how the device works and the recipient also gets plenty of time to figure out the device.

How does Intracortical Visual Prosthesis work?

  • The ICVP uses small wireless stimulator modules which are implantable and can send image data that has been captured by a video camera straight to the brain.
  • No connectors or wires cross the scalp because each module, known as a wireless floating microelectrode array (WFMA), receives its power and digital commands via a wireless link.
  • Camera images are sent directly to the brain by sending commands to the WFMAs, resulting in the creation of a crude visual image.
  • While these crude perceptions will not be identical to normal vision, they may be useful in doing tasks that are visually guided.

About the clinical test

The Illinois Tech team tied up with neurosurgeons from Rush University Medical Center during the preclinical phase to develop and optimize surgical procedures. This resulted in the successful implantation of 25 stimulators with a total of 400 electrodes in a blind person. The aim of the clinical test was to see if the prosthesis improves the participants’ ability to navigate and complete basic tasks which were visually guided. After a 4-6-week recovery period, testing will commence at The Chicago Lighthouse.

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