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Title: Sensory augmentation to aid training with retinal prostheses
Authors: Kvansakul, Jessica
Hamilton, Lachlan
Ayton, Lauren
McCarthy, Chris
Petoe, Matthew
Keywords: Sensory substitution devices
SSD
Retinal prostheses
Blindness
Rehabilitation
Training
Issue Date: Jul-2020
Publisher: IOP Publishing
Citation: Kvansakul, J., L. Hamilton, L. N. Ayton, C. McCarthy, and M. A. Petoe. 2020. Sensory augmentation to aid training with retinal prostheses. Journal of Neural Engineering. 17(4): 045001.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Retinal prosthesis recipients require rehabilitative training to learn the non-intuitive nature of prosthetic 'phosphene vision'. This study investigated whether the addition of auditory cues, using The vOICe sensory substitution device (SSD), could improve functional performance with simulated phosphene vision. APPROACH: Forty normally sighted subjects completed two visual tasks under three conditions. The phosphene condition converted the image to simulated phosphenes displayed on a virtual reality headset. The SSD condition provided auditory information via stereo headphones, translating the image into sound. Horizontal information was encoded as stereo timing differences between ears, vertical information as pitch, and pixel intensity as audio intensity. The third condition combined phosphenes and SSD. Tasks comprised light localisation from the Basic Assessment of Light and Motion (BaLM) and the Tumbling-E from the Freiburg Acuity and Contrast Test (FrACT). To examine learning effects, twenty of the forty subjects received SSD training prior to assessment. MAIN RESULTS: Combining phosphenes with auditory SSD provided better light localisation accuracy than either phosphenes or SSD alone, suggesting a compound benefit of integrating modalities. Although response times for SSD-only were significantly longer than all other conditions, combined condition response times were as fast as phosphene-only, highlighting that audio-visual integration provided both response time and accuracy benefits. Prior SSD training provided a benefit to localisation accuracy and speed in SSD-only (as expected) and Combined conditions compared to untrained SSD-only. Integration of the two modalities did not improve spatial resolution task performance, with resolution limited to that of the higher resolution modality (SSD). SIGNIFICANCE: Combining phosphene (visual) and SSD (auditory) modalities was effective even without SSD training and led to an improvement in light localisation accuracy and response times. Spatial resolution performance was dominated by auditory SSD. The results suggest there may be a benefit to including auditory cues when training vision prosthesis recipients.
URI: http://repository.bionicsinstitute.org:8080/handle/123456789/402
ISSN: 1741-2552
Appears in Collections:Bionic Vision Research Publications

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