A new gadget to help the vision impaired
Sensory substitution devices have been developed to build on our multisensory capacities and, for instance, allow those with visual impairments to acquire a sensory functionality similar to vision.
“99 percent of our daily life depends on multisensory—also called multimodal—processing (…) vision can influence sound, and sound can influence vision.” Shinsuke Shimojo, the Gertrude Baltimore Professor of Experimental Psychology.
Based on their research on multisensory perspectives, Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, developed a wearable gadget named vOICe Device aimed at helping blind people experience the surrounding environment as it translates images into sound. The gadget has the shape of sunglasses and transforms the images captured by its attached camera into associated sounds via a computer algorithm. A visual and simplified explanation can be seen on the video embedded above. A more thorough description can be found on the paper by Caltech “Auditory Sensory Substitution is Intuitive and Automatic with Texture Stimuli”.