Retinal implants have been developed as a promising way to restore partial vision for the blind. The observation and analysis of neural activities can offer valuable insights for successful prosthetic electrical stimulation. Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) activities have been investigated to provide knowledge on the requirements for electrical stimulation, such as threshold current and the effect of stimulation waveforms. To develop a detailed 'stimulation strategy' for faithful delivery of spatiotemporal visual information to the brain, it is essential to examine both the temporal and spatial characteristics of RGC responses, whereas previous studies were mainly focused on one or the other. In this study, we investigate whether the spatiotemporal visual information can be decoded from the RGC network activity evoked by patterned electrical stimulation. Along with a thorough characterization of spatial spreading of stimulation current and temporal information encoding, we demonstrated that multipixel spatiotemporal visual information can be accurately decoded from the population activities of RGCs stimulated by amplitudemodulated pulse trains. We also found that the details of stimulation, such as pulse amplitude range and pulse rate, were crucial for accurate decoding. Overall, the results suggest that useful visual function may be restored by amplitude modulation-based retinal stimulation.
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© 2017 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.
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