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Non-invasive patterned electrical neurostimulation of the retina

Project description

A non-invasive retinal implant

A brain-machine interface (BMI) is a communication device that acquires brain signals and translates neuronal information into commands. Despite the immense potential of BMIs, their performance remains suboptimal due to technical challenges. Funded by the European Research Council, the Outer-Ret project will focus on retinal implants as a means of treating retinal degenerative diseases. The key objective is to improve retinal neurostimulation and develop a non-invasive approach to generate artificial vision. Results will provide fundamental insight into the biology of retina but also advance current strategies for offering functional vision to patients with retinal degenerative diseases.


Retinal implants remain one of the most demanding technologies in brain-machine interfacing. State of the art devices have yet to reach the needed performances. Main barriers are sub-optimal stimulation parameters and long development and testing procedures. While invasive approaches, have yet to achieve the resolution performances needed by million of patients blinded by retinal degenerative diseases, non-invasive approaches in the form of trans-orbital stimulation have received no attention, yet they offer potentially dramatically cheaper and easy to adapt and optimize technology. The main goal of this project is to advance the field of retina neurostimulation by developing new tools for the study and interfacing with the retina. In particular: (1) Bi-directional electrophysiological interface which can record and stimulate the intact retina (in the eye) and (2) soft multi-electrode arrays for non-invasive stimulation of the retina (soft trans-orbital electrodes) will be explored. We will use these tools to study the retina in its intact form (in animal models) and we will implement the gained know-how in humans to study non-invasive stimulation. In this project we will establish a new platform for bi-directional electrophysiological interfacing with the intact retina and we will use it to study the retina in its intact form. Such investigations have ground breaking nature as they can advance both the fundamental understanding of the retina and improve the manner by which we stimulate the retina to generate artificial vision: Specifically, we aim to record spontaneous waves activity and light sensitive ganglion cells, optimize electrical stimulation parameters in the intact retina, and ultimately to measure retina responses to trans-orbit stimulation. As the ultimate goal of the project, we aim to establish the foundation of trans-orbital stimulation as a new non-invasive paradigm for functional vision in patient suffering from retina degenerative diseases.



Net EU contribution
€ 2 500 000,00
Other funding
€ 0,00