Visual Prostheses

Objects in the implants module are organized into the following categories:

Prosthesis systems

pulse2percept provides the following prosthesis systems (aka ‘retinal implants’, ‘bionic eyes’):

Implant Location Num Electrodes Manufacturer
ArgusI epiretinal 16 Second Sight Medical Products Inc
ArgusII epiretinal 60 Second Sight Medical Products Inc
AlphaIMS subretinal 1500 Retina Implant AG
AlphaAMS subretinal 1600 Retina Implant AG
PRIMA subretinal 378 Pixium Vision SA
PRIMA75 subretinal 142 Pixium Vision SA
PRIMA55 subretinal 273(?) Pixium Vision SA
PRIMA40 subretinal 532(?) Pixium Vision SA
BVA24 suprachoroidal 24 Bionic Vision Technologies

Stimuli can be assigned to the various electrodes in the electrode array, who will deliver them to the retina (see Electrical Stimuli). A mathematical model is then used to compute the neural stimulus response and predict the resulting visual percept (see Computational Models).

Understanding the coordinate system

The easiest way to understand the coordinate system is to look at the organization of the optic fiber layer:

In [1]: from pulse2percept.models import AxonMapModel

In [2]: AxonMapModel(eye='RE').plot()
Out[2]: <AxesSubplot:xlabel='x (microns)', ylabel='y (microns)'>

Here you can see that:

  • the coordinate system is centered on the fovea
  • in a right eye, positive \(x\) values correspond to the nasal retina
  • in a right eye, positive \(y\) values correspond to the superior retina

Positive \(z\) values move an electrode away from the retina into the vitreous humor (\(z\) is sometimes called electrode-retina distance). Analogously, negative \(z\) values move an electrode through the different retinal layers towards the outer retina.

Understanding the ProsthesisSystem class

The ProsthesisSystem base class provides a template for all prosthesis systems. It is comprised of:

  • ElectrodeArray: as mentioned above,
  • Stimulus: as mentioned above,
  • check_stim: a method that quality-checks the stimulus. By default this method does nothing, but its behavior might depend on the actual system, such as ArgusII or AlphaIMS,
  • eye: a string indicating whether the system is implanted in the left or right eye,
  • a means to access and iterate over electrodes in the array.

Accessing electrodes

You can access individual electrodes in a prosthesis system either by integer index or by electrode name. For example, the first electrode in AlphaAMS can be accessed as follows:

In [3]: from pulse2percept.implants import AlphaAMS

In [4]: implant = AlphaAMS()

# Access by index:
In [5]: implant[0]
DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A1', r=15.0, x=-1365.0, 
              y=-1365.0, z=0.0)

# Access by name:
In [6]: implant['A1']
DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A1', r=15.0, x=-1365.0, 
              y=-1365.0, z=0.0)

The simplest way to iterate over all electrodes is to pretend that the prosthesis system is a Python dictionary:

In [7]: from pulse2percept.implants import ArgusI

In [8]: for name, electrode in ArgusI().electrodes.items():
   ...:     print(name, electrode)
A1 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A1', r=125.0, 
              x=-1200.0, y=-1200.0, z=0.0)
B1 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='B1', r=250.0, x=-400.0, 
              y=-1200.0, z=0.0)
C1 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='C1', r=125.0, x=400.0, 
              y=-1200.0, z=0.0)
D1 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='D1', r=250.0, x=1200.0, 
              y=-1200.0, z=0.0)
A2 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A2', r=250.0, 
              x=-1200.0, y=-400.0, z=0.0)
B2 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='B2', r=125.0, x=-400.0, 
              y=-400.0, z=0.0)
C2 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='C2', r=250.0, x=400.0, 
              y=-400.0, z=0.0)
D2 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='D2', r=125.0, x=1200.0, 
              y=-400.0, z=0.0)
A3 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A3', r=125.0, 
              x=-1200.0, y=400.0, z=0.0)
B3 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='B3', r=250.0, x=-400.0, 
              y=400.0, z=0.0)
C3 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='C3', r=125.0, x=400.0, 
              y=400.0, z=0.0)
D3 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='D3', r=250.0, x=1200.0, 
              y=400.0, z=0.0)
A4 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='A4', r=250.0, 
              x=-1200.0, y=1200.0, z=0.0)
B4 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='B4', r=125.0, x=-400.0, 
              y=1200.0, z=0.0)
C4 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='C4', r=250.0, x=400.0, 
              y=1200.0, z=0.0)
D4 DiskElectrode(activated=True, name='D4', r=125.0, x=1200.0, 
              y=1200.0, z=0.0)

Creating your own prosthesis system

You can quickly create a prosthesis system from an ElectrodeArray (or even a single Electrode) by wrapping it in a ProsthesisSystem container:

In [9]: from pulse2percept.implants import ElectrodeGrid, ProsthesisSystem

In [10]: ProsthesisSystem(earray=ElectrodeGrid((10, 10), 200))
ProsthesisSystem(earray=ElectrodeGrid, eye='RE', 
                 preprocess=False, safe_mode=False, 

To create a more advanced prosthesis system, you will need to subclass the base class:

import numpy as np
from pulse2percept.implants import ElectrodeGrid, ProsthesisSystem

class MyFovealElectrodeGrid(ProsthesisSystem):
    """An ElectrodeGrid implant centered over the fovea"""

    def __init__(self, stim=None, eye='RE'):
        self.earray = ElectrodeGrid((3, 3), x=0, y=0, z=0, rot=0,
                                    r=100, spacing=500,
                                    names=('A', '1'))
        self.stim = stim
        self.eye = eye

    def check_stim(self, stim):
        """Make sure the stimulus is charge-balanced"""
        if stim.time is not None:
            for s in stim:
                assert np.isclose(np.sum(s), 0)

Electrode arrays

Electrode arrays are collections of Electrode objects whose behavior is dictated by the ElectrodeArray base class.

See also

Understanding the ElectrodeArray class

The ElectrodeArray base provides:

  • electrodes: an ordered dictionary of electrode objects (meaning it will remember the order in which electrodes were added),
  • n_electrodes: a property returning the number of electrodes in the array.
  • add_electrode: a method to add a single electrode to the collection,
  • add_electrodes: a method to add a multiple electrodes to the collection at once,
  • a way to access a single electrode either by index or by name,
  • a way to iterate over all electrodes in the array.

Accessing electrodes

You can access individual electrodes in an electrode array either by integer index or by electrode name. The syntax is exactly the same as for the prosthesis system.

Creating your own electrode array

You can create your own electrode array by starting with an empty ElectrodeArray, and adding the desired electrodes one by one:

In [11]: from pulse2percept.implants import DiskElectrode, ElectrodeArray

In [12]: earray = ElectrodeArray([])

In [13]: earray.add_electrode(0, DiskElectrode(0, 0, 0, 50))

In [14]: earray.add_electrode(1, DiskElectrode(100, 100, 0, 150))

In [15]: earray
Out[15]: ElectrodeArray(electrodes=OrderedDict, n_electrodes=2)

To create a more advanced electrode array, you will need to subclass the base class. In the constructor, make sure to initialize self.electrodes with an ordered dictionary (OrderedDict):

from collections import OrderedDict
from pulse2percept.implants import ElectrodeArray

class MyElectrodeArray(ElectrodeArray):
    """Array with a single disk electrode"""

    def __init__(self, name):
        self.electrodes = OrderedDict()
        self.add_electrode(name, DiskElectrode(0, 0, 0, 100))


Electrodes are objects whose behavior is dictated by the Electrode base class. They are located at a particular 3D location and provide a method to calculate the electric potential at arbitrary 3D locations.

Understanding the Electrode class

The base class provides:

  • the 3D coordinates of the center of the electrode.

In addition, a custom electrode object must implement:

  • a method called electric_potential that returns the electric potential at a point (x, y, z).

Creating your own electrode

To create a new electrode type, you will need to subclass the base class. Make sure to specify an electric_potential method for your class:

from pulse2percept.implants import Electrode

class MyElectrode(Electrode):
    """Named electrode with electric potential 0 everywhere"""

    def __init__(self, x, y, z, name):
        # Note: If you don't plan on adding any new variables, you can
        # omit the constructor entirely. In that case, your object will
        # inherit the constructor of the base class.
        self.x = x
        self.y = y
        self.z = z = name

    def electric_potential(self, x, y, z):
        return 0.0