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Samuel A. Titchener, Mohit N. Shivdasani, James B. Fallon, Matthew A. Petoe; Gaze Compensation as a Technique for Improving Hand–Eye Coordination in Prosthetic Vision. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2018;7(1):2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.7.1.2.
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Shifting the region-of-interest within the input image to compensate for gaze shifts (“gaze compensation”) may improve hand–eye coordination in visual prostheses that incorporate an external camera. The present study investigated the effects of eye movement on hand-eye coordination under simulated prosthetic vision (SPV), and measured the coordination benefits of gaze compensation.
Seven healthy-sighted subjects performed a target localization-pointing task under SPV. Three conditions were tested, modeling: retinally stabilized phosphenes (uncompensated); gaze compensation; and no phosphene movement (center-fixed). The error in pointing was quantified for each condition.
Gaze compensation yielded a significantly smaller pointing error than the uncompensated condition for six of seven subjects, and a similar or smaller pointing error than the center-fixed condition for all subjects (two-way ANOVA, P < 0.05). Pointing error eccentricity and gaze eccentricity were moderately correlated in the uncompensated condition (azimuth: R2 = 0.47; elevation: R2 = 0.51) but not in the gaze-compensated condition (azimuth: R2 = 0.01; elevation: R2 = 0.00). Increased variability in gaze at the time of pointing was correlated with greater reduction in pointing error in the center-fixed condition compared with the uncompensated condition (R2 = 0.64).
Eccentric eye position impedes hand–eye coordination in SPV. While limiting eye eccentricity in uncompensated viewing can reduce errors, gaze compensation is effective in improving coordination for subjects unable to maintain fixation.
The results highlight the present necessity for suppressing eye movement and support the use of gaze compensation to improve hand–eye coordination and localization performance in prosthetic vision.
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