Dr. Lotfi Merabet, SERI/MEEI optometrist/scientist, featured speaker at MIT's Challenges Workshop

Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., optometrist and scientist, was a featured speaker at the Dec. 6 Challenges Workshop at MIT.

 

 Maestro Andrea Bocelli and Dr. Lotfi Merabet

Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., optometrist and scientist, was a featured speaker at the Dec. 6 Challenges Workshop at MIT.  Hosted by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), the day-long event highlighted cutting-edge research that can produce innovative solutions to help visually impaired people increase their independence and social inclusion. World-renowned tenor and songwriter Andrea Bocelli, who lost his eyesight at the age of 12, established the ABF in 2011 and created the ABF Challenges Program to promote scientific and technological research.

 

 

In Dr. Merabet’s presentation “Educational Game Software for Blind Children,” he discussed how interactive video games can help blind people develop and improve their navigation skills. He and colleagues have developed the Audio-based Environmental Simulator (AbES), which provides orientation and mobility training through an exploration-themed video game. By analyzing brain activation patterns with functional magnetic resonance imaging, Dr. Merabet and colleagues have shown that the AbES can enhance sensory-motor function—even in people blind since birth.