We are an interdisciplinary research group focused on the development of novel methods and algorithms to interface sight recovery technologies such as retinal implants (‘bionic eye’) with the human visual system, with the ultimate goal of restoring useful vision to the blind.
(Jul 9, 2019) Prof. Beyeler recently sat down with PCMag to talk about bionic vision and his move to UC Santa Barbara.
The ‘bionic eye’—so long a dream of the future—is finally becoming a reality with retinal prostheses available in the US and Europe (Fig. 1; over 300 patients implanted). With cortical implants, optogenetic approaches, and stem cell therapy in development, a wide range of sight restoration (SR) options should be available to patients diagnosed with severe blindness within the next decade.
Despite the increasing clinical and commercial use of these devices, the perceptual experience of SR patients is surprisingly poorly understood. A common misconception in the field is that each electrode in an array can be thought of as a ‘pixel’ in an image; to generate a complex visual experience, one then simply needs to turn on the right combination of pixels. However, almost all SR technologies are likely to suffer from perceptual distortions and subsequent loss of information due to interactions between the technology and the underlying neurophysiology.
The goal of our research is therefore:
We are looking for curious and talented individuals who share our vision of helping the blind see again.
We are an interdisciplinary group working at the intersection of computer science, neuroscience, and psychology. We value a strong work ethic, clarity of thought, creativity, optimism, and computational/programming skills. We practice open science, and we know that science is at its best when it is diverse. If these values resonate with you, read on.
Please contact Michael with your CV and a brief statement of research accomplishments, interests, and career plans. Check the Research section to see a list of projects we are particularly interested in.
To be considered, you will need at least one publication in a high-quality international conference (computer science) or journal (neuroscience) and you need to have a reasonable chance of getting a fellowship to support your stay at UCSB.
If you are a UCSB graduate student looking for a lab, please contact Michael to set up a time to meet.
If you are looking for a graduate position and you are not already at UCSB, the deadline for Fall 2020 has now passed. The next application deadline is in December 2020.
If you are a UCSB CS Master’s student looking for a project, please contact Michael to set up a time to meet.
We are looking for students interested in applying their methodological skills to research problems in bionic vision. All students should have a solid programming background and strengths in one of the following:
If you are a UCSB undergraduate, please contact Michael with your prior experience and your transcript (unofficial is fine) and we can arrange a meeting.
Students should have a GPA of ≥ 3.0 (University requirement) and some programming experience (especially Python/Matlab). In general, students stay for several quarters (one quarter is not enough to get up to speed) and work for academic credit or on a volunteer basis.