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In Patterns (New York, N.Y.)

Optic nerve electrical stimulation is a promising technique to restore vision in blind subjects. Machine learning methods can be used to select effective stimulation protocols, but they require a model of the stimulated system to generate enough training data. Here, we use a convolutional neural network (CNN) as a model of the ventral visual stream. A genetic algorithm drives the activation of the units in a layer of the CNN representing a cortical region toward a desired pattern, by refining the activation imposed at a layer representing the optic nerve. To simulate the pattern of activation elicited by the sites of an electrode array, a simple point-source model was introduced and its optimization process was investigated for static and dynamic scenes. Psychophysical data confirm that our stimulation evolution framework produces results compatible with natural vision. Machine learning approaches could become a very powerful tool to optimize and personalize neuroprosthetic systems.

Romeni Simone, Zoccolan Davide, Micera Silvestro


convolutional neural networks, genetic algorithms, neuroprosthetics, optic nerve stimulation, optimization, sensory restoration, vision restoration