The Center's research goal is to develop and apply new scientific knowledge and practical, cost-effective devices to better understand and address the real-world problems of blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind consumers
To accurately perceive one’s own state and that of the surrounding environment, visual, vestibular and somatosensory inputs must be appropriately weighted and dynamically reweighted depending on the environment and task difficulty, as well as signal reliability (and availability). Aging is associated with an increase on visual dependence (a greater weighting of visual information). In this project we investigate how loss of visual information due to AMD affects this reweighting process and if an increase in visual dependence may be maladaptive in AMD.
Falls in older adults are common, have high societal and monetary costs, often lead to injury and can even be fatal. It is known that noise can damage the vestibular periphery resulting in postural instability and compromised balance. This project investigates how natural aging is accelerated by lifetime noise exposure, and how that can lead to impaired vestibular function, contributing to propensity to fall.
Current eye tracking and calibration algorithms do not accommodate eccentric viewing and the capacity for accurate eye tracking is difficult to assess in individuals with central visual field loss, and few studies of naturalistic oculomotor behavior exist. To address this problem, we are developing a binocular robotic model of the human eyes that can simulate fixation and eye movements with an eccentric preferred retinal locus in one or both eyes and allow for precise assessment of eye tracking performance of head mounted computer vision-based eye tracking systems.
This project investigates the properties of smooth pursuit eye movements in individuals with macular degeneration. Commonly believed to be a fovea-linked eye movement, smooth pursuit has not been previously investigated in individuals with central field loss, despite its importance for tracking moving objects, such as vehicles or pedestrians on a busy street.