Active Confocal Imaging for Visual Prosthesis

Figure 1. The background de-cluttering can be achieved using an active confocal imaging system based on light-field technology.

Visual prostheses and sensory substitution devices have been developed over the years for restoring functional vision in blind users. Most of these devices use a high-resolution head-mounted video camera and convert those images to a low resolution (under 1,000 electrodes) and limited dynamic range (2-4 gray levels) to display on users’ tongue, retina, cortex, etc.

Objects of interest in front of background clutter, as frequently found in natural environment, presented at the low resolution and dynamic range are difficult to interpret. We are working on methods to effectively suppress background clutter and isolate the object of interest, background de-cluttering, to improve the functionality of visual prostheses.

Background de-cluttering can be implemented by improving the camera and image processing. We proposed an active confocal imaging system based on light-field technology that would enable a blind user of any visual prosthesis to efficiently scan, focus on, and "see" only an object of interest, while suppressing interference from background clutter. In addition, background de-cluttering may be achieved by motion parallax caused by the user’s head movement, which facilitates separation of objects at various distances with a gaze-locking assistance.

Figure 2. The effect of separating the target from background using motion parallax without (left) and with (right) the gaze-locking assistance.

Collaborators and Partners

Jaehyun Jung, Ph.D.

Yitzhak Yitzhaky, Ph.D.

Avi Caspi, Ph.D. - Second Sight, Inc

Daniel Palanker, Ph.D. - Stanford University


Past Postdoctoral Fellows

Zahide Pamir, Ph.D.

Maha Ramamurthy, Ph.D.

Cheng Qiu, Ph.D.

Navid Mostofi, Ph.D.


Grant Support

DoD Grant W81XWH-16-1-0033, "Active Confocal Imaging System for Visual Prostheses"





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