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Susan Sun, Yingchen He, Arup Roy, Avi Caspi, Sandra Rocio Montezuma; Improved Localization and Recognition of Heat Emitting Objects and People Using a Thermal Sensor Camera Integrated with the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):4978.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate the benefits of a thermal sensor camera (TSC) integrated with the Argus II retinal prosthesis system in helping users to localize and identify heat emitting entities, as well as to navigate while avoiding heat emitting obstacles.
Five subjects who are users of the Argus II system participated in completing two series of tasks (object and navigation) aimed at comparing performance using the TSC versus using the Argus II camera. The object tasks involved localization and recognition of heat emitting household objects, including a toaster, flat iron, electric kettle, heating pad, and mug of hot water. The tasks were: 1) localizing the heat emitting items on a table by indicating the number of objects present and its location (left, middle, right), and 2) identifying a specific heated household item out of 3 presented on a table. The navigation tasks involved: 1) localizing and walking towards people inside a small room in dark and light conditions, and 2) localizing people present in a hallway and walking down the hallway while avoiding the people. All of the aforementioned tasks were repeated for 6 to 12 trials, depending on the task, with each subject.
In the object tasks, subjects more accurately identified the number of heated household objects displayed (p = 0.012), the location of the objects on the table (p = 0.043), and the specific type of object presented (p = 0.013) with the TSC relative to the Argus II camera. In the navigation tasks, subjects could more accurately localize people in the small room using the TSC in both the light condition (p < 0.001) and the dark condition (p < 0.001). While walking down a hallway, subjects had less collisions with people standing (p = 0.028) and correctly identified more people standing (p < 0.001) with the TSC.
In comparison to the Argus II camera, the thermal sensor camera helps users to more accurately locate heat emitting objects and people. Integration of the thermal sensor camera with the Argus II system can potentially enhance the functional vision provided by the retinal prosthesis and improve quality of life for patients who use this device.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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