See with your ears?
9 August 2011
A new device that links spy glasses, a webcam and a smart phone could make it easier for blind people to 'see' shapes by converting visual signals to auditory ones and sending them to another part of the brain. Dr Michael Proulx from SBCS demonstrated his research with the device, known as 'The vOICe' at the American Psychological Association meeting in Washington, DC, last week, where he received the Science Showcase Award.
'The main thing is to work out how to make the brain and the technology meet in the middle,' Dr Peter Meijer, the inventor of The vOICe, said. 'The technology is mature, but we don't know how the brain deals with complex sounds.' Meijer said scientists like Proulx and others are learning that parts of the brain may be more plastic than we originally thought, and that areas where we process visual images may receive other sound and touch signals as well.