AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Engineering and acute physiological testing of a retinal neurostimulator

by Gregg Jørgen Suaning

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering
Year: 2003
Keywords: Retina  – Pathophysiology; Electric stimulation; Vision  – Physiology
Record ID: 1031901
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/19203


Electrical stimulation of retinal neurons is known to elicit visual sensations. When applied to the retina in a spatial pattern, electrical stimulation may be capable of providing rudimentary patterned vision that may be of benefit to sufferers of degenerative retinal disorders. No such device has yet been devised to provide for chronic study of the psychophysical perceptions elicited from a prosthesis for retinal stimulation. In this study, steps towards achieving this goal have been successfully carried out. Foregoing research was reviewed such that appropriate stimulation parameters were incorporated in the design of a 100 stimulation channel, complimentary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit, small enough in size so as to be capable of being implanted within the ocular anatomy or surrounding orbit. The device, and its associated external hardware and software were designed, modeled, fabricated, and interfaced with stimulating electrodes in acute testing in a highorder mammal (Ovis aries) so as to assess the capabilities of the device to elicit cortical potentials as a direct result of stimulation of the neural retina. Testing was performed under conditions similar to those anticipated in chronic in-situ configurations wherein radio-frequency telemetry was used to deliver power and configuration parameters to the device thus avoiding the passage of wires through tissue in order to communicate to the implant circuit. The results of the testing indicate that the circuit is indeed capable of eliciting physiological responses in the animal and evidence is present that these responses could be elicited in patterned form. Further work undertaken includes the development of surgical methods for implantation, and application of the prosthesis circuit in functional electronic stimulation.