FRS - Forehead Retina System

The Forehead Retina System (FRS) uses a special headband to selectively stimulate different mechanoreceptors in forehead skin to allow visually impaired people to "see" a picture of what lies in front of them. The Forehead Retina System is the result of collaborative research by Tachi laboratory at the University of Tokyo and EyePlusPlus, Inc.


(Forehead Retina System headband electrodes and outline processing)

The Forehead Retina System uses tactile sensations in the forehead as a "substitute retina" to enable visually impaired people to "see" the outlines of objects.


(Forehead Retina System headband electrodes and outline processing)

Here's how it works:

  • A miniature camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses takes a picture of the scene in front of the user.
  • The digital picture is processed and converted into tactile information with two processes. The first uses a special algorithm to extract the spatial outline of the main contents of the visual field; edges are enhanced. The second process is a temporal band-pass filter to enhance time-varying information.
  • Finally, the processed visual image is converted to tactile sensations by electrical stimuli; the electrodes in the special headband selectively stimulate the different mechanoreceptors in the forehead skin.

(FRS Tactile Primary Color Approach hardware)

FRS uses a Tactile Primary Color Approach; by separately stimulating three different types of mechanoreceptors in the forehead skin - Merkel cells, Meissner corpuscles and Pacinian corpuscles - the device can approximate an RGB color system. The Forehead Retina System thereby approximates color visual construction.

Take a look at these related stories:

Read more about FRS at SIGGRAPH 2006 and FRS at EyePlusPlus.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/3/2006)

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