Reading Pixelized Paragraphs of Chinese Characters Using Simulated Prosthetic Vision

School of Biomedical Engineering, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science (Impact Factor: 3.4). 06/2011; 52(8):5987-94. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.10-5293
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Presenting simulated prosthetic vision (SPV) to normally sighted participants, to evaluate the potential benefits of given electrode array layouts, has been shown to significantly reflect clinical findings [16]. Recently, performance in tasks such as reading [35], hand-eye coordination [36], object recognition [37], and mobility [38] has been evaluated for central phosphene layouts. Often, the angular field of view (FOV) of these layouts were similar to those of actual electrode arrays, for instance 20° in the Argus II [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The prospective efficacy of a future peripheral retinal prosthesis complementing residual vision to raise mobility performance in non-end stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) was evaluated using simulated prosthetic vision (SPV). Normally sighted volunteers were fitted with a wide-angle head-mounted display and carried out mobility tasks in photorealistic virtual pedestrian scenarios. Circumvention of low-lying obstacles, path following, and navigating around static and moving pedestrians were performed either with central simulated residual vision of 10° alone or enhanced by assistive SPV in the lower and lateral peripheral visual field (VF). Three layouts of assistive vision corresponding to hypothetical electrode array layouts were compared, emphasizing higher visual acuity, a wider visual angle, or eccentricity-dependent acuity across an intermediate angle. Movement speed, task time, distance walked and collisions with the environment were analysed as performance measures. Circumvention of low-lying obstacles was improved with all tested configurations of assistive SPV. Higher-acuity assistive vision allowed for greatest improvement in walking speeds-14% above that of plain residual vision, while only wide-angle and eccentricity-dependent vision significantly reduced the number of collisions-both by 21%. Navigating around pedestrians, there were significant reductions in collisions with static pedestrians by 33% and task time by 7.7% with the higher-acuity layout. Following a path, higher-acuity assistive vision increased walking speed by 9%, and decreased collisions with stationary cars by 18%. The ability of assistive peripheral prosthetic vision to improve mobility performance in persons with constricted VFs has been demonstrated. In a prospective peripheral visual prosthesis, electrode array designs need to be carefully tailored to the scope of tasks in which a device aims to assist. We posit that maximum benefit might come from application alongside existing visual aids, to further raise life quality of persons living through the prolonged early stages of RP.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Neural Engineering
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    • "Further, in normal reading, comprehension benefits from the spatial context of letters within words, words within sentences, and sentences within paragraphs. While it is known that high reading rates and accurate word recognition can be achieved using RSVP of whole English words (Gilbert, 1959; Forster, 1970) and Chinese characters (Zhao et al., 2011), no previous studies have examined the ability to read non-ideographic text based on the presentation of single letters at a time. In our LDT, a strong correlation was observed between word frequency and both the accuracy and reaction time for recognition of true words. "
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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.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Frontiers in Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: A visual prosthesis may elicit an irregular phosphene map relative to a regular electrode array. This study used simulated irregular phosphene maps as a way of optimizing the display methods of Chinese characters (CCs) to improve recognition and reading performance. Methods: TWENTY SUBJECTS WITH NORMAL OR CORRECTED SIGHT PARTICIPATED IN TWO EXPERIMENTS (9 FEMALES, 11 MALES, 2030 YEARS OF AGE). EXPERIMENT 1: two character display methods were proposed: selecting phosphenes covered by character strokes on a simulated phosphene array (projection method) and finding the phosphene closest to the expected location in some range of an irregular phosphene array as a substitute (nearest neighbor search [NNS] method). The recognition accuracy of CCs was investigated using six levels for the coverage ratio of stroke and phosphene area and for search range, respectively, for two methods, for several irregularity levels. Experiment 2: reading accuracy (RA) and reading efficiency (RE) were measured using the regular array correspondence and NNS methods. Results: EXPERIMENT 1: projection and NNS methods were significantly affected by coverage ratio or search range. NNS significantly improved CC recognition accuracy to the highest at 81.3 ± 2.7% and 59.1 ± 5.2%, respectively, for different irregularity levels, compared with the projection method. Experiment 2: RA and RE significantly decreased as the distortion level increased; NNS significantly improved RA (from approximately 40% to >80%) and RE (from approximately 13 char/min to >40 char/min) when reading more irregular paragraphs. Conclusions: The performance of CC recognition and paragraph reading when using an irregular phosphene array can be improved through optimizing the display method.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
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