Researchers from University of Technology Sydney in Australia have developed acoustic touch technology that helps the vision impaired see using sound, similar to bats. The system consists of a pair of smartglasses capable of translating visual information into distinct sound icons.
This acoustic touch device was tested with 14 participants, which included seven individuals with blindness or low vision and seven blindfolded sighted individuals as a control group. They discovered that the device significantly enhanced the ability of blind or low-vision individuals to recognize and reach for objects with minimal mental effort.
Smart glasses typically use computer vision and other sensory information to translate the wearer’s surrounding into computer-synthesized speech. However, acoustic touch technology sonifies objects, creating unique sound representations as they enter the device’s field of view. For example, the sound of rustling leaves might signify a plant, or a buzzing sound might represent a mobile phone,” said Chin-Teng Lin, a global leader in brain-computer interface research from the University of Technology Sydney.