Innovation in Sight

A report from the Vision Institute in Paris. Join us for a behind the scenes look at the research performed using the Artificial Street and Homelab!

A stone’s throw away from the historical entrance of the Quinze-Vingts national eye hospital, in a small road in Paris’ 12th arrondissement, the Vision Institute with its glass facades and modern architecture suddenly comes into view. At this research center dedicated to eye diseases, fifteen teams are working towards understanding these conditions: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy… and how to treat them.

  • Participant prêt à commencer son parcours, qui suit une sorte de triangle, parsemé d'embuches : un mannequin, une table, une boîte noire difficilement décelable sur un sol sombre
    In the Artificial Street, ergonomics student Anthony Cherbonnier has accepted to play the role of a participant in the RP-Lux study: Streetlab Ergonomist and Project Manager, Chloé Pagot, helps him get ready by attaching infrared reflective markers to his tunic. The purpose of the study is to evaluate locomotor behavior and strategies of patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition which affects the peripheral vision. They have particularly been shown to be sensitive to light transitions. If, following conditions of normal lighting (235 lux), they are suddenly plunged into semi-darkness (1 or 2 lux), their ability to see properly is diminished even further and their difficulties intensified.
    The experiment requires them to take a walk down the Artificial Street, which is purposely littered with fixed and moving obstacles. This is done in semi-darkness, following habituation, but also during conditions of light transition.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Participant à l'étude RP-Lux
    In the Artificial Street, ergonomics student Anthony Cherbonnier has accepted to play the role of a participant in the RP-Lux study: Streetlab Ergonomist and Project Manager, Chloé Pagot, helps him get ready by attaching infrared reflective markers to his tunic. The purpose of the study is to evaluate locomotor behavior and strategies of patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition which affects the peripheral vision. They have particularly been shown to be sensitive to light transitions. If, following conditions of normal lighting (235 lux), they are suddenly plunged into semi-darkness (1 or 2 lux), their ability to see properly is diminished even further and their difficulties intensified.
    The experiment requires them to take a walk down the Artificial Street, which is purposely littered with fixed and moving obstacles. This is done in semi-darkness, following habituation, but also during conditions of light transition.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Pose de capteurs sur une tunique
    In the Artificial Street, ergonomics student Anthony Cherbonnier has accepted to play the role of a participant in the RP-Lux study: Streetlab Ergonomist and Project Manager, Chloé Pagot, helps him get ready by attaching infrared reflective markers to his tunic. The purpose of the study is to evaluate locomotor behavior and strategies of patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition which affects the peripheral vision. They have particularly been shown to be sensitive to light transitions. If, following conditions of normal lighting (235 lux), they are suddenly plunged into semi-darkness (1 or 2 lux), their ability to see properly is diminished even further and their difficulties intensified.
    The experiment requires them to take a walk down the Artificial Street, which is purposely littered with fixed and moving obstacles. This is done in semi-darkness, following habituation, but also during conditions of light transition.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Anthony is ready to begin his walk, which will take a sort of triangular path, strewn with obstacles such as a mannequin, a table, and a black-colored box that is difficult to distinguish on the dark floor.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Régie vidéo permettant de vérifier les prises de vues
    In the control room upstairs, screens are used to check the images and, most importantly, control the sound and light environment. Depending on the experiments, the Street can be fully modulated (decor, sound and light conditions, etc.) to create different controllable and reproducible environments to enable standardized studies.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Logiciel de reconstitution en 3 dimensions
    A network of 10 infrared (IR) cameras is used to film only the markers that appear on the control screen. After processing with Vicon Nexus software, the segments of the body are reconstituted in 3D, for a very precise understanding of the patient’s locomotor behavior.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Sur l'écran des capteurs indiquent les segments du corps qui sont reconstitués en 3 dimensions
    A network of 10 infrared (IR) cameras is used to film only the markers that appear on the control screen. After processing with Vicon Nexus software, the segments of the body are reconstituted in 3D, for a very precise understanding of the patient’s locomotor behavior.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre
  • Le HomeLab, appartement laboratoire qui permet de tester, en conditions réelles, les technologies destinées à l'habitat, pour faciliter l'autonomie des personnes en situation de handicap visuel.
    Homelab, a laboratory apartment which resembles a conventional apartment, is used to test, in real-life conditions, technologies for the home that have been invented to facilitate the autonomy of individuals with visual impairment.
    Here, Biomechanics Engineer Ariel Zenouda (right) is conducting the HandiGlaucome experiment to evaluate the difficulties encountered by glaucoma patients when performing hand-to-eye coordination tasks. For the participant (played here by the Institute’s Communication Manager, Peggy Chambaz), the test consists of identifying, grasping and moving one of the nine objects placed in front of her. Before the test, the positions of these objects are modified behind a screen that hides them from view (held here by Streetlab Platforms Manager, Johan Le Brun). For increased realism, it has been decided to use everyday objects, such as a toothpick, salt shaker, sponge, or cup.
    Depending on the progression of the disease, which is caused by an increase in ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve, the researchers seek to verify whether the patients develop one strategy rather than another to compensate their visual field impairment.
    © Inserm/Patrick Delapierre

In their toolbox, innovative techniques such as the artificial retina, optogenetics, cell and gene therapies, retinal imaging, high-throughput screening… And, above all, the technological platforms of the company Streetlab, located in the very heart of the building. Their purpose? To further the Institute's applied research, and to aid the design of innovative solutions and the evaluation of products and services to improve the autonomy of people with visual impairment. Join Science&Santé for a behind the scenes look at the research performed using the Artificial Street and Homelab!

*Inserm/CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie Unit 968

Find the report in issue 32 of Science&Santé magazine (in French)