Summary: Researchers introduced “acoustic touch” technology, allowing individuals with blindness or low vision to “see” using unique sound icons. These smart glasses translate visual data into distinct auditory signals.
Tests showed that the glasses significantly improved users’ abilities to locate and reach objects.
This groundbreaking technology provides a new opportunity for sensory enhancement, promoting greater independence and quality of life for visually impaired people.
- “Acoustic touch” converts visual signals into unique sound representations, such as rustling for plants or buzzing for mobile phones.
- A study in PLOS One showed that the technology significantly boosted object recognition for blind or low vision users without any additional mental stress.
- It is estimated that 39 million people worldwide are blind, while another 246 million have low vision.
Source: University of Technology Sydney
Australian researchers have developed cutting-edge technology called “acoustic touch” that helps people ‘see’ using sound. Technology has the potential to transform the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 39 million people worldwide are blind, and an additional 246 million live with low vision, affecting their ability to participate in everyday life activities.
The next-generation smart glasses, which translate visual information into specific sound icons, were developed by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney in collaboration with Sydney start-up ARIA Research.
“Smart glasses typically use computer vision and other sensory information to translate the wearer’s surroundings into computer-synthesized speech,” said Distinguished Professor Chin-Teng Lin, a global leader in brain-computer interface research at the University of Technology Sydney. Does.”
“However, Acoustic Touch technology sonicates objects, creating unique sound representations as they enter the device’s field of view. For example, the sound of rustling leaves could represent a plant, or the buzzing sound could represent a mobile phone,” he said.
A study on the efficacy and utility of acoustic touch technology to assist blind people, led by Dr. Howe Zhu of the University of Technology Sydney, has just been published in the journal. one more,
The researchers tested the device with 14 participants; Seven individuals with blindness or low vision and seven blindfolded individuals who served as a control group.
They found that a wearable device equipped with acoustic touch technology significantly enhanced the ability of blind or low vision individuals to recognize and reach objects, without requiring much mental effort.
“Auditory feedback enables users to recognize and reach for objects with remarkable accuracy,” said Dr. Zhu. “Our findings indicate that acoustic touch has the potential to offer a wearable and effective method of sensory enhancement for the visually impaired community.”
The research underlines the importance of developing assistive technology in overcoming challenges such as locating specific household items and personal belongings.
By solving these day-to-day challenges, acoustic touch technology opens new doors for individuals who are blind or have low vision, increasing their independence and quality of life.
With continued advancements, acoustic tactile technology may become an integral part of assistive technologies, helping individuals access their environment more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
About this visual neuroscience and neurotech research news
Original Research: open access.
,Investigating the effectiveness of the use of acoustic touch to assist blind peopleBy Chin-Teng Lin et al. one more
Investigating the effectiveness of the use of acoustic touch to assist blind people
Wearable smart glasses are an emerging technology that is gaining popularity in the assistive technology industry. Smart glasses typically take advantage of computer vision and other sensory information to translate the wearer’s surroundings into computer-synthesized speech.
In this work, we explored the potential of a new technology called “acoustic touch” to provide wearable spatial audio solutions to assist blind people in finding objects. Unlike traditional systems, this technology uses smart glasses to sonicate objects into distinct auditory signatures when the object enters the device’s field of view.
We developed a wearable foveated audio device to study the efficacy and utility of using acoustic touch to locate, remember, and access objects. Our evaluation study included 14 participants, 7 blind or low vision and 7 blindfolded (as a control group) participants.
We compared the wearable device to two ideal conditions, a verbal watch face description and a sequential audio presentation through an external speaker.
We found that wearable devices can effectively assist in identifying and reaching for an object. We also observed that the device does not significantly increase the user’s cognitive workload.
These promising results suggest that acoustic touch may provide a wearable and effective method of sensory enhancement.