Category: Prototype


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The vOICe is a sensory substitution device that translates images to sounds for the blind to allow them to understand a visual experience using other senses. Sights, sounds, and smells integrate and interact within the brain so a sight can be “seen” in ways other than just the eyes. This works through multi-sensory interaction or multi-modal processing, activating the visual cortex through sound. With this device, cross-modal mappings stimulates the users visual cortex with auditory signals that encode information about the environment.

The device is made up of a small computer connected to a camera that is attached to darkened glasses, allowing it to “see” what a human eye would. A computer algorithm scans each camera image from left to right, and for every column of pixels, generates an associated sound with a frequency. A large number of bright pixels at the top of a column translates that image into a loud, high-frequency sound, whereas a large number of lower dark pixels would be a quieter, lower-pitched sound. A user who is blind that wears the camera on a pair of glasses could then associate different sounds with features of their environment. The intuitively identified textures used in the experiments exploited the cross-modal mappings.


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California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology Organization Type: 
The California Institute of Technology (abbreviated Caltech is a private research university among a small group of Institutes of Technology in the United States which tends to be primarily devoted to the instruction of technical arts and applied sciences. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering, managing $332 million in 2011 in sponsored research.
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California Institute of Technology