The proposed work to clinically test an intracortical visual prosthesis under an FDA-approved Early Feasibility Study addresses both health and quality-of-life issues because, without some compensatory strategy for vision loss, over two thirds of individuals with blindness are not gainfully employed, they experience higher rates of depression and social isolation, and experience a reduced quality-of-life. For the past fifteen years, The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has lead a team-based IntraCortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP) project, consisting of multiple institutions and companies, to develop the ICVP Our entry point, for this project, is: the ICVP is technically and surgically feasible, non-human testing has reached an asymptotic limitation, volunteer participation in an ICVP trial has a sufficient likelihood of providing sensory, perceptual, and psychological benefits to warrant human testing, and, that our established ICVP team is prepared to proceed to a first human clinical trial. The proposed project will use the already well-established project team lead by Dr. Troyk at IIT. This team is comprised of researchers from seven institutions: Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Chicago (UC), Johns Hopkins University (JHU), University of Texas, Dallas (UTD), Sigenics, Inc, MicroProbes for Life Science (MLS), and the Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired (CLH).
This project is for performing a clinical trial of an experimental intracortical visual prosthesis. Targeted for individuals with blindness, the purpose of the prosthesis is to communicate image information captured from a camera directly to the visual cortex of the brain. This will be tested under an Early Feasibility Study, approved by the FDA.