Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a device that enables blind people to “see.”
Dr. Amir Amedi of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences and the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at the Hebrew University, and PhD student Ella Striem-Amit used in the research a sensory substitution device (SSD) called “The vOICe,” developed by Dr. Peter Meijer of Holland.
The device converts images from a minature camera into soundscapes, allowing the user to listen to and then interpret the visual information coming from the camera. It also enables those using the system to “read” an eye chart with letter sizes smaller than those used in determining the international standard for blindness.
Eight congenitally blind participants in a recent test group at HU passed a conventional exam of the standard visual test called the Snellen acuity test, technically surpassing the criterion of the World Health Organization (WHO) for blindness.
The findings of the research were published recently in the PloS One Journal in the United States.
By Chana Ya’ar