ט׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״ד (April 9, 2014)
Have you ever heard colors? Heard shapes?
In order for the blind to perceive colors or shapes, Hebrew University researchers use a sensory substitution device (SSD) that transforms images into pieces of music, enabling the blind to “hear” pictures.
With the New Israeli app EyeMusic one hears pleasant musical notes, which convey information about colors, shapes and location of objects in the world.
Using the EyeMusic you can experience the visual world without even opening your eyes.
While the blind cannot use their eyes to see, they can experience the world using their intact senses. While hands can experience textures and shapes, and the ears can listen to and enjoy music, other aspects of the visual worlds such as the colors and horizon are less accessible to the blind.
The EyeMusic captures shapes and translates them into Soundscapes – auditory representations of pictures. Colors are represented using different musical instruments, higher pixels of the image are translated into higher notes on a given musical instrument (i.e. higher pitches on the piano, trumpet or the violin) while lower pixels of the image are translated into lower notes on the same musical instruments & pixels closer to the left side of the image are heard before pixels closer to the right side of the picture – thus enabling everyone to hear shapes and colors.
In recent studies, blind and blindfolded sighted users were shown to correctly perceive and interact with objects using EyeMusic. Participants were able to recognize different shapes and colors or reach for a specific beverage (watch video below).
Using the EyeMusic you can pick the red apple from a bowel of green apples without opening your eyes, differentiate orange juice from lemonade, or experience the rainbow.
The researchers hope EyeMusic can become a tool for future neuroscience research and holds great promise for the field of visual rehabilitation.
“The utilization of the EyeMusic and its added color information in the field of neuroscience could facilitate exploring several questions in the blind with the potential to expand our understanding of brain organization in general,” says Professor Amir Amedi, Head of the Center for Human Perception and Cognition at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
(via NoCamels; Image credit Michael Gluhoded, Shelly Levy-Tzedek and Amir Amedi)
App: EyeMusic: Hearing colored shapes by Quickode Ltd.
Compatible: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Released: February 06, 2014
Publisher: Quickode LTD. © Amir Amedi lab, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Price: Free (get app)