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

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Laboratory of Visual Perception and Visuo-motor control, Faculty of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
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Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers, Computer Science and Engineering Department, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Bucharest 060042, Romania
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Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bernadette Murphy
Brain Sci. 2016, 6(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci6030020
Received: 28 April 2016 / Revised: 18 June 2016 / Accepted: 23 June 2016 / Published: 27 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Control and Brain Plasticity)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: visually impaired people; brain plasticity; adaptation; sensory substitution; training visually impaired people; brain plasticity; adaptation; sensory substitution; training
MDPI and ACS Style

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.

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