ESR Name: Sandrine Hinrichs
Secondment host institution: Streetlab, Paris, France
Secondment period: 01/02/2022 to 28/05/2022
Secondment objectives: to use the artificial street facilities to determine the efficacy of the POLYRETINA implant in a real-life setup.
“Have you ever wondered how you would see the world as a blind person with a visual implant? In my secondment in the Paris Streetlab, I made normally sighted people go through this experience. The problem with present implants is that they haven’t been useful enough for patients to master their daily life. My laboratory therefore developed an implant that aims to improve the vision, for instance by providing a wider field of view. To test whether this wider field of view makes a real change, we have been simulating this artificial vision so we can run virtual and augmented reality experiments on sighted participants. The goal is to investigate a participant’s performance under different field of view conditions, ideally in a real-life environment. The Paris Streetlab provides exactly that. You can think of a streetlab as a fully customisable theater room that you can turn into an artificial street while being in control of everything. In this artificial street, participants were asked to start at their home location and to retrieve money from the ATM, to post a letter and to go back home as fast as possible. Participants saw the street through the lens of a blind person with the implant, where half of them were exposed to a field of view of 20° and the other half to 45°. Preliminary results indicate a difference in the performance, the time it took them to complete the tasks as well as the time they spent in dangerous locations.”