Monday, July 6 2015 (2:00-3:00 pm) ⇒ Keynote Address
Bernard Voyer, O.C., C.Q., Ph.D. (Hon.), F.S.G.R. (C.), Ch.L.H.,
Canadian Explorer, Montreal, QC, Canada, www.bernardvoyer.com
Travelling in Challenging Environments: Reflected Thoughts about Determination and Perseverance
Bernard Voyer views his expeditions as an “extraordinary triumph of determination and perseverance”. The lecture will present a magnificent journey around the world, during which the speaker will highlight those human qualities that are critical before and during expeditions (planning, self-confidence, resiliency, cooperation, adaptive behaviour, problem-solving, etc.). Relations will emerge with respect to the challenges a blind person faces during his or her rehabilitation and travelling in complex environments. Bernard Voyer’s lecture is intended “to arouse a desire of surpassing oneself, to prove one’s own courage and motivation, while demonstrating the benefits of team work and cooperation and the importance of finding in ourselves the resources we need to reach our goals”.
Tuesday, July 7 2015 (9:00-10:00 am) ⇒ Expert Panel on Innovation in O&M
As the Conference moves into the heart of its central theme, the second plenary session is a well-designed opportunity to think aloud together. Through the input of three experts of different backgrounds, along with participants’ expressed concerns, the panel will discuss current issues and challenges in O&M (e.g., increasingly complex needs, technology, interdisciplinary approach, professional training, etc.). A look will also be taken at different horizons toward which the field appears headed in the near future. A 15-minute question period will complete the panel session. A call for participants’ questions or concerns to be addressed by the speakers will be sent prior to the conference (via O&M List Serve, the GROM – Quebec, WEB site_IMC15).
Duane Geruschat, PhD
Research associate in Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute of the School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University; Associate Professor, Salus University
PART 1 – Actual O&M challenges and innovative solutions
Orientation and mobility specialists have been at the forefront of innovation in service delivery, technology, and teaching techniques since the profession’s inception. Originating with services to adventitious totally blind adults, O&M now spans all ages, and all level of vision loss: total blindness to low vision. O&M specialists have led the efforts to make the built environment accessible including APS, tactile information for curb detection, uniform codes for building signage, and minimum illumination standards. The development of various types of long canes such as bundu basher and pushable mobility devices are a few examples of innovation over the decades.
Following the historical overview of what has been accomplished will be a look into the future, exploring the challenges of quiet cars, driverless cars, the blind seeing again with prosthetic vision or gene therapy, and how O&M will play an integral role addressing the challenges and opportunities these new technologies present to the traveler who is visually impaired.
CEO, HumanWare, Montreal, Qc, Canada
PART 2 – Impact of Technology
In our modern world, technology is often seen as the remedy to any and all problems. On one side, technology has often met its promises and has indeed increased independence for many people with vision loss. GPS based orientation systems now enables more and more people to find their way to new places with a high degree of confidence. On the other side, we have seen a number of obstacle detection systems which have failed to beat the white cane and guide dog when it comes to responsiveness, reliability and ease of use.
During this discussion, we will look at which technology trends will have an impact, both positive and negative, on orientation and mobility of people with vision loss. We will explore ways to take advantage of these new technologies in order to improve their lives through more freedom of movement.
Tony Leroux, PhD
Professor, École d’orthophonie et d’audiologie and Director of the School and Associate Vice-Dean in Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine; Université de Montréal, (CRIR Researcher), Montreal, Qc, Canada
PART 3 – Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Approach
During the last 15 years, the interdisciplinary work among O&M specialists, audiologists, human-machine interaction specialist, and users, led to the development and validation of clinical tools devoted to the assessment of auditory localization and training of auditory skills. The fact of having clinicians and researchers from different relevant domains, working in close and constant collaboration, facilitated rapid knowledge transfer and fruitful clinical appropriation of our research findings in rehabilitation centers in Québec. The contribution of each discipline and approach (clinical and research) within the team has been a key element to success.
Wednesday, July 8 2015 (9:00-10:00 am) ⇒ Plenary Session
Jocelyn Faubert, PhD
Professor, School of Optometry, Université de Montréal and NSERC-Essilor Research Chair on Presbyopia and Visual Perception, (CRIR Researcher), Montreal, Qc, Canada
Perceptual-Cognitive Processing of Dynamic Visual Scenes in Different Populations: Requirements and Impact of Training
Good mobility assumes efficient processing of dynamic scenes, which in some cases can be very challenging. For instance, walking in a dense crowd, driving, or riding a bike can be very demanding for our perceptual-cognitive brain mechanisms. The same is true in sports where players move about and change directions rapidly and one has to simultaneously keep track of the ball, teammates and opposing players. Commonalities are identified in all these situations. 1) Elements in the scene are continuously moving, changing directions, occluding, and colliding. 2) Much of the information is in the peripheral visual field, i.e. away from central vision and therefore involving a relatively large stimulus zone. 3) Multiple targets are simultaneously tracked as they move. 4) The world is in three-dimensional space. 5) Scene elements can vary tremendously in movement speed. Virtual environments that assemble these conditions have been developed by the researcher, so that the capacity to process complex dynamic scenes could be improved by training. As it has been demonstrated with the older population and further with high-level athletes, this approach showed that this capacity was highly trainable. On the first hand, it showed transfer to socially relevant abilities; on the other hand, this capacity is highly related to athletic performance levels. A version of the system NeuroTracker is now commercially available and is used in different professional sports leagues, with elite military forces, and in different rehabilitation and wellness centres. Jocelyn Faubert’s presentation will explain the principles behind his perceptual-cognitive training approach and discuss some of the relevant studies and potential applications to mobility.
Thursday, July 9 2015 (09:00-10:00 am) ⇒ Plenary Session
Gislin Dagnelie, PhD
Associate Professor of Ophtalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Associate Director, Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center (division of Wilmer Eye Institute), Baltimore, MD, United States
Vision Restoration in the Middle of a Pivotal Decade: How Will the Blind See 2020?
Gislin Dagnelie will present an overview of the state of the art in prosthetic vision, besides covering gene therapy, stem cell, and pharmaceutical approaches to vision rescue and restoration. His presentation will most likely devote over half of the time to visual prostheses. German and Australian prostheses will be presented, as well as new “products” that may arrive on the scene before July 2015. A presentation of Argus II results is intended to be longer than about other devices, since Dr. Dagnelie has been working with this implant since 2007. More results of what it can and cannot do will be presented. Dr. Dagnelie’s presentation is challenged by the question: In regard to vision restoration, what may we expect as significant innovations in the future?