Towards multifocal ultrasonic neural stimulation II: design considerations for an acoustic retinal prosthesis

J Neural Eng. 2012 Apr;9(2):026006. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/2/026006. Epub 2012 Feb 13.


Ultrasound waves, widely used as a non-invasive diagnostic modality, were recently shown to stimulate neuronal activity. Functionally meaningful stimulation, as is required in order to form a unified percept, requires the dynamic generation of simultaneous stimulation patterns. In this paper, we examine the general feasibility and properties of an acoustic retinal prosthesis, a new vision restoration strategy that will combine ultrasonic neuro-stimulation and ultrasonic field sculpting technology towards non-invasive artificial stimulation of surviving neurons in a degenerating retina. We explain the conceptual framework for such a device, study its feasibility in an in vivo ultrasonic retinal stimulation study and discuss the associated design considerations and tradeoffs. Finally, we simulate and experimentally validate a new holographic method--the angular spectrum-GSW--for efficient generation of uniform and accurate continuous ultrasound patterns. This method provides a powerful, flexible solution to the problem of projecting complex acoustic images onto structures like the retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Algorithms
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electroretinography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Holography
  • Humans
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Prosthesis Design*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / chemically induced
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology
  • Safety
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Ultrasonics / methods*
  • Visual Prosthesis*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Tetrodotoxin