Wicab Awarded $3.2M for Research and Development with the BrainPort® Vision Device

Wicab announces an award of $3.2M from the Defense Medical Research and Development Program. The funds will be used to evaluate and improve the BrainPort® vision device, a visual prosthetic designed for those who are blind.
By: Robert Beckman
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Middleton - Wisconsin - US

Oct. 5, 2010 - PRLog -- Middleton, WI – Wicab, Inc., announces a grant for $3.2M from the Defense Medical Research and Development Program.  The funds will be used to evaluate and improve the BrainPort® vision device, a visual prosthetic designed for those who are blind, assisting in the areas of orientation, mobility, object identification and spot reading.

Wicab’s Dr. Aimee Arnoldussen, PhD  will lead the execution of the award milestones.  World-class collaborators include co-PI Dr. Amy Nau, OD from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who will oversee human subject testing and outcomes assessments and co-PI Dr. Yaser Sheikh, PhD from the Quality of Life Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University who will provide intelligent software enhancements.  The award supports home testing of the BrainPort vision device by users who are blind, with feedback and test results steering future device developments.

The BrainPort vision device was developed by the late Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, a University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist.  The technology is covered by patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation ("WARF") and is exclusively licensed to Wicab. The BrainPort vision device is currently an investigational device and is not available for sale.  Wicab Inc. is pursuing additional funding to support FDA clearance and commercialization.  For more information, please visit www.wicab.com.

Robert A. Beckman, CEO
Wicab Inc.
Telephone: 608-829-4502
Email rbeckman@wicab.com

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Wicab was founded in 1998 by the late Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita to advance the research and development of sensory substitution devices based on proprietary technology enabling the display of information on the tongue using electro tactile stimulation. The BrainPort vision device provides information to blind individuals via a neuro-stimulating array placed on the tongue. This unique device provides immediate benefits to its blind users in areas of safety, mobility, and recreation.

The BrainPort vision device operates by acquiring an image stream from a video camera. Like a camcorder, the moving images are sent to a display, which, in this case, is the electrode array on the tongue. The image stream is displayed on the tongue by converting light information to electrical stimulation, which feels like tiny bubbles to the user. With minimal training, users learn to interpret the images on their tongue as information about the scene in front of them.
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Tags:Blind, Technology, Vision, Brainport, Mobility
Industry:Biotech, Medical, Technology
Location:Middleton - Wisconsin - United States
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