Reading pixelized paragraphs of Chinese characters using simulated prosthetic vision.
ABSTRACT Visual prostheses offer a possibility of restoring useful reading ability to the blind. The psychophysics of simulating reading with a prosthesis using pixelized text has attracted attention recently. This study was an examination of the reading accuracy and efficiency of pixelized Chinese paragraphs after different parameters were altered.
Forty native Chinese speakers with normal or corrected visual acuity (20/20) participated in four experiments. Reading accuracy and efficiency were measured after changing the character resolution, character size, pixel dropout percentage, number of gray levels, and luminance.
A 5° × 5° character appeared to be the optimal size necessary for accurate pixelized reading. Reading accuracy close to 100% could be achieved with 10 × 10 pixels/character and ∼60% with a 6 × 6 pixel resolution. Pixel dropout adversely affected accuracy, and paragraphs with a 50% dropout were unreadable. Luminance had little effect; however, the number of gray levels significantly affected reading performance. Paragraph reading was at least 5% more accurate at each resolution than was the accuracy of Chinese character recognition.
Character size and resolution, pixel dropout, and the number of gray levels clearly affected the reading performance of pixelized Chinese paragraphs. Compared with pixelized character recognition, pixelized Chinese paragraph reading achieved higher accuracy; thus, optimal Chinese reading performance may require prostheses with more electrodes (1000) than are required to read paragraphs in the Latin alphabet (500).
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ABSTRACT: Rapid, accurate reading is possible when isolated, single words from a sentence are sequentially presented at a fixed spatial location. We investigated if reading of words and sentences is possible when single letters are rapidly presented at the fovea under user-controlled or automatically controlled rates. When tested with complete sentences, trained participants achieved reading rates of over 60 wpm and accuracies of over 90% with the single letter reading (SLR) method and naive participants achieved average reading rates over 30 wpm with greater than 90% accuracy. Accuracy declined as individual letters were presented for shorter periods of time, even when the overall reading rate was maintained by increasing the duration of spaces between words. Words in the lexicon that occur more frequently were identified with higher accuracy and more quickly, demonstrating that trained participants have lexical access. In combination, our data strongly suggest that comprehension is possible and that SLR is a practicable form of reading under conditions in which normal scanning of text is not possible, or for scenarios with limited spatial and temporal resolution such as patients with low vision or prostheses.Frontiers in Neuroscience 01/2012; 6:158.