Category: audible navigation and orientation aid


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-- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a sensory substitution device that employs pleasant musical scales to convey visual information for individuals who are blind or have low vision. A team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created EyeMusic, which allows users who are blind or have low vision to "see" by assigning sounds to images. EyeMusic consists of a pair of glasses with an attached video camera, which is wired to a pair of headphones. The headphones transmit sound to the user's scalp rather than directly to his or her ears. The camera makes scans of the scenery in front of the user, with each scan going from left to right. These scans are translated into "soundscapes," which are short pieces of music played back through the headphones. The higher that a pixel is vertically located in the scanned image, the higher the musical note that will be used to represent it in the soundscape. The farther to the right that a pixel is within the scanned area, the later that it will be heard within the soundscape—an auditory cue marks the beginning of each scan/soundscape. The brightness of each pixel is translated into the volume of the sound. Different colors are represented by different instruments, with blue becoming a trumpet, red a reggae organ, green a reed instrument, yellow a violin, and white being heard as vocals. Black is represented by silence. Despite the sample soundscapes sounding complex, a group of 18 blind-folded test subjects reported learning to use EyeMusic relative quickly. AUTHOR: Ben Coxworth. TITLE: Novel system guides the blind by turning images into music. WEBSITE: Gizmag. REF:


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