Developing a cortically-based visual prosthesis for the blind in a chronic nonhuman primate model

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Engineering
Department Bioengineering
Author Davis, Tyler Scott
Title Developing a cortically-based visual prosthesis for the blind in a chronic nonhuman primate model
Date 2013-05
Description This dissertation provides an in-depth evaluation of microstimulation of the primary visual cortex (V1) using chronically implanted Utah Electrode Arrays (UEAs) in macaque monkeys for use as a visual prosthesis. Within the scope of this dissertation are several significant contributions. First, a minimally invasive and robust device for head fixation was developed. In comparison to other available designs, this device improved long-term outcomes by providing a stronger, less invasive interface that reduced the risk of infection. This device made it possible to acquire chronic microstimulation data in macaque monkeys. It has been tested on three animals and has provided a stable interface for over two years. Second, this dissertation is the first to describe the factors influencing the performance and safety of microstimulation of V1 with the UEA. Two UEAs were implanted in V1 of two macaque monkeys, and experiments were performed several months following implantation. The electrical and recording properties of the electrodes and the high-resolution visuotopic organization of V1 were measured. In addition, threshold stimulation levels that evoked behavioural responses using single electrodes were determined. Periodic microstimulation at currents up to 96 pA did not impair the ability to record neural signals and did not affect the animal's vision where the UEAs were implanted. It was discovered, however, that microstimulation at these levels evoked behavioural responses on only 8 of 82 systematically stimulated electrodes. It was suggested that the ability to evoke behavioral responses may depend on the location of the electrode tips within the cortical layers of V1, the distance of the electrode tips to neuronal somata, and the inability of nonhuman primates to recognize and respond to a generalized set of evoked percepts. Finally, this dissertation is the first to describe the spatial and temporal characteristics of microstimulation of V1 with the UEA over chronic time periods. Two years after implantation, it was found that consistent behavioural responses could be evoked during simultaneous stimulation of multiple contiguous electrodes. Saccades to electrically-evoked targets using groups of nine electrodes showed that the animal could discriminate spatially distinct percepts with a resolution comparable to the current epiretinal prostheses. These results demonstrate chronic perceptual functionality and provide evidence for the feasibility of a UEA-based visual prosthesis for the blind.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Chronic; Microstimulation; Primary Visual Cortex; Primate; Utah Electrode Array; Visual Prosthesis
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Tyler Scott Davis 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,745,753 bytes
ARK ark:/87278/s6n01nck
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2013-05-17
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 195875
Reference URL
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