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The Sound of Vision Project: On the Feasibility of an Audio-Haptic Representation of the Environment, for the Visually Impaired

The Sound of Vision Project: On the Feasibility of an Audio-Haptic Representation of the Environment, for the Visually Impaired


Title: The Sound of Vision Project: On the Feasibility of an Audio-Haptic Representation of the Environment, for the Visually Impaired
Author: Jóhannesson, Ómar I.   orcid.org/0000-0002-5594-4055
Balan, Oana
Unnthorsson, Runar   orcid.org/0000-0002-1960-0263
Moldoveanu, Alin   orcid.org/0000-0002-1368-7249
Kristjánsson, Árni
Date: 2016-06-27
Language: English
Scope: 20
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Heilbrigðisvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Health Sciences (UI)
Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Sálfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Psychology (UI)
Iðnaðarverkfræði-, vélaverkfræði- og tölvunarfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Industrial Eng., Mechanical Eng. and Computer Science (UI)
Series: Brain Sciences;6(3)
ISSN: 2076-3425
DOI: 10.3390/brainsci6030020
Subject: Visually impaired people; Brain plasticity; Adaptation; Sensory substitution; Training; Sjónskertir; Heilastarfsemi; Skynjun; Vélaverkfræði
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/701

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Citation:

Jóhannesson, Ó.I.; Balan, O.; Unnthorsson, R.; Moldoveanu, A.; Kristjánsson, Á. The Sound of Vision Project: On the Feasibility of an Audio-Haptic Representation of the Environment, for the Visually Impaired. Brain Sci. 2016, 6, 20. doi:10.3390/brainsci6030020

Abstract:

The Sound of Vision project involves developing a sensory substitution device that is aimed at creating and conveying a rich auditory representation of the surrounding environment to the visually impaired. However, the feasibility of such an approach is strongly constrained by neural flexibility, possibilities of sensory substitution and adaptation to changed sensory input. We review evidence for such flexibility from various perspectives. We discuss neuroplasticity of the adult brain with an emphasis on functional changes in the visually impaired compared to sighted people. We discuss effects of adaptation on brain activity, in particular short-term and long-term effects of repeated exposure to particular stimuli. We then discuss evidence for sensory substitution such as Sound of Vision involves, while finally discussing evidence for adaptation to changes in the auditory environment. We conclude that sensory substitution enterprises such as Sound of Vision are quite feasible in light of the available evidence, which is encouraging regarding such projects.

Rights:

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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