Artificial retina: Design principles for a high-fidelity brain-machine interface


EJ Chichilnisky

(Stanford University)

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The retina communicates visual information to the brain in spatio-temporal patterns of electrical activity, and these signals mediate all of our visual experience. Retinal prostheses are designed to artificially elicit activity in retinas that have been damaged by disease, with the hope of conveying useful visual information to the brain. Current devices, however, produce limited visual function. The reasons for this can be understood based on the organization of visual signals in the retina, and I will show experimental data suggesting that it is possible in principle to produce a device with exquisite spatial and temporal resolution, approaching the fidelity of the natural visual signal. These advances in interfacing to the neural circuitry of the retina may have broad implications for future brain-machine interfaces in general. I will also discuss how novel technologies may be used to optimize the use of such devices for the purpose of helping blind people see.

Further Information:

 E.J. Chichilnisky received a BA in Mathematics from Princeton University and an MS in Mathematics and PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University. He is now a Professor in the Neurosurgery Department and Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford.  Prior to joining Stanford, EJ was a professor in the Systems Neurobiology Laboratories at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego where he held the Ralph S and Becky O’Connor Chair.

Created: Thursday, February 20th, 2014