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Conference Papers Year : 2012

Spatial navigation with a simulated prosthetic vision in a virtual environment


Blind people experience great difficulties to navigate in complex environment. Micro-navigation problems could be partially solved by learning mobility skills and how to use a white cane or a guide dog, but macro-navigation problems are more difficult to solve despite the variety of existing assistive devices. Most of these devices are based on satellite positioning, which is not available in street canyons and inside buildings. To help restore these navigation functions, missing visual information could be restored though a visual neuroprosthesis. Retinal implants are presently tested in clinical trials and first results show that they can elicit precisely localized visual perceptions (white/yellow dots called phosphenes). Experiments with these early implants are evaluating the visual functions -such as reading- that could be restored with a low number of electrodes. Very few studies are performed on the navigation capabilities that could be restored by these implants, probably for practical as well as safety reasons. Here, we used simulated prosthetic vision (SPV) to investigate the navigation capabilities that could be restored through two different stimulation strategies. The first strategy consist in a reduction of the environment view to match the number of electrodes in the simulated retinal implant (defined as the scoreboard approach). The second strategy is relying on an object recognition algorithm (here simulated) in order to present recognized elements only (defined as the object recognition and localization approach). Six subject participated in the experiment. They were wearing a head mounted display to perceive phosphenes as seen by a retinally implanted blind person. In a virtual indoor environment, the subjects were following a path indicated by short verbal instructions. They were guided by the visual cues produced by the neuroprosthesis and their instruction was to navigate as fast and accurately as possible. The average time to complete the path was nine minutes for the localization approach and six minutes for the scoreboard approach. This difference was only marginally significant as one subject showed an opposite pattern compared to the others. Additional measurements from the experiments demonstrate that the scoreboard approach is more effective than the localization approach to navigate in indoor environments.
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hal-02926548 , version 1 (03-09-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02926548 , version 1


Victor Vergnieux, Marc J.-M. Macé, Christophe Jouffrais. Spatial navigation with a simulated prosthetic vision in a virtual environment. Workshop NeuroComp/KEOpS’12, Oct 2012, Bordeaux, France. ⟨hal-02926548⟩
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