Device To Assist the Blind

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Dr. Peter Meijer of  the Netherlands built a device called the vOICE, which turn noises into pictures. Researchers say it can potentially aid the visually impaired and can work as a substitute for invasive treatment.

Snellen Chart (Eye Exam)
Sarindam7/Wikimedia Commons

The device lets the user produce an image as it teaches the brain to turn sounds into images. It will be a possible alternative to invasive treatment for the visually impaired and partially sighted people, researchers at the University of Bath in England said.

During the team study, participants made use of the vOICE while they were blindfolded. At the same time, they underwent an eye exam. The results proved that they performed exceptionally well even without prior actual training.

Team leader Dr. Michael Proulx said, “This level of visual performance exceeds that of the current invasive technique for vision restoration, such as stem cell implants and retinal prostheses after extensive training.”

Dr. Proulx added that such sensory replacement devices do not only work only as an option to treatments but perhaps it can work well with invasive procedures to guide the brain to perceive for the first time or once more.