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Vision via Sound for the Blind


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A research team member who is blind uses acoustic touch to locate and reach for an item on the table.

The researchers found the wearable device, equipped with acoustic touch technology, significantly enhanced the ability of blind or low-vision individuals to recognize and reach for objects, without needing too much mental effort.

Credit: Lil Deverell

Scientists at Australia's universities of Sydney and Technology Sydney (UTS) partnered with Sydney-based startup ARIA Research to create "acoustic touch" technology that uses sound to help blind people "see."

UTS' Chin-Teng Lin said, "Acoustic touch technology sonifies objects, creating unique sound representations as they enter the device's field of view. For example, the sound of rustling leaves might signify a plant, or a buzzing sound might represent a mobile phone."

The researchers evaluated the next-generation smart glasses with 14 participants, half of whom were visually impaired while the other half were sighted, blindfolded controls.

They learned the devices substantially augmented the blind or low-vision individuals' ability to identify and reach for objects without taxing them mentally.

From University of Technology Sydney (Australia)
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