A NEW ELECTROTACTILE PROSTHESIS FOR THE BLIND

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Amount:
$500,000.00
Program:
SBIR
Contract:
N/A
Solitcitation Year:
N/A
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Branch:
N/A
Award Year:
1994
Phase:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
19236
Solicitation Topic Code:
N/A
Small Business Information
Unitech Research Inc.
704 N Blackhawk Ave, Madison, MI, 53705
Hubzone Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Duns:
N/A
Principal Investigator
 Mitchell E Tyler
 (608) 238-5344
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
THE RESEARCH CONCERNS THE PROSPECTS FOR ENRICHING SPATIAL PERCEPTION IN THE BLIND VIA A DIGITAL, VIDEO BASED CAMERA WHOSE PROJECTED VISUAL IMAGES TRANSFORMATIONS ARE TRANSDUCED INTO ANALOGOUS TACTILE TRANSFORMATIONS ON A NEWLY DEVELOPED ELECTROTACTILE ARRAY. SINCE DYNAMIC PATTERNS OF ELECTROTACTILE STIMULATION CAN REPRODUCE IMPORTANT PROPERTIES OF OPTICAL STIMULATION, WHICH THEMSELVES CAN SUPPORT USEFUL PERCEPTUAL DESCRIPTIONS OF 3-SPACE AND EVENTS, IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH SUCH REPRODUCTIONS LEAD TO SUCCESSFUL PERCEPTION AND ACTION IN 3-SPACE BY THE BLIND. THE PHASE I RESEARCH IS FOCUSED ON THE PREREQUISITE PERCEPTUAL-MOTOR CONTROL NECESSARY TO EXPLORE SUCH PROSPECTS MORE FULLY. THREE EXPERIMENTS ARE DESCRIBED. WE WILL EXAMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH IMPORTANT PROPERTIES OF OPTIC FLOW (THE CHANGES IN OPTIC FIELD ASSOCIATED WITH SELF-MOVEMENT OR OBJECT MOTION) ARE DETECTED, INTERPRETED AND ACTED UPON IN REAL-TIME SITUATIONS. WE WILL EXAMINE THIS PERCEPTUAL-MOTOR CONTROL, AND ITS PROGRESS, WITH CONGENITALLY BLIND, ADVENTIOUSLY BLIND AND SIGHTED SUBJECTS. THE OUTCOME OF THE RESEARCH WILL ENABLE US TO ANTICIPATE SUCH PROSPECTS FOR SPATIAL ENRICHMENT IN THE BLIND AS WELL AS TO BETTER HONE THE FUNCTIONAL CHRACTERISTICS OF THE TECHNOLOGY TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF THE BLIND.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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