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Modern approaches to visual prosthesis are based on the ability to produce percepts without light stimulating the retina. These percepts are called phosphenes and they can be produced by electrically stimulating brain matter along the visual pathway.
Recent studies have demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the macaque LGN produces phosphenes comparable to those observed in occipital stimulation, leading to the proposition that a well-organized microelectrode arrangement over this region might restore a pixelated field of vision to the blind.
It has been demonstrated that electrical stimulations to the LGN mimicking those observed in natural perception produce a similarly ‘natural’ activation in V1; however, the electrical signals that produce these perceptions have yet to be decoded.
Following the compilation of an electrical code, researchers will need to develop a way of transforming video inputs into a signal that will be recognized appropriately by the visual system.
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