Blind Man With Walking Stick

Helen Keller once said – “The only worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”, though she indicated to ignorance of people, the quote is correct even in the sense of scientific context. Blind people cannot detect the visual stimuli, but they can use their visual cortex of brain.

A study by neurobiologists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem has experimented a sensory substitution device which shows a connection between the auditory stimuli and visual cortex that results  in blind people seeing objects with their ears. Scientists hypothesized that to replace information from a missing sense by using input from a different sense can work for a blind person, just like bats and dolphins use sounds and echolocation to see using their ears.

Researchers taught the blind participants to first perceive simple dots and lines and then gradually complex shapes. With less than 70 hours of training, subjects were able to not only recognize the shape of human body but also detect and mimic the exact posture.

Their brain scans were taken that showed during the tasks the visual cortex showed activity and scientists reached the conclusion that with the help of certain algorithms that translate the visual info to sounds, blind people can see.

So instead of just being a secondary machine that responds to sensory input, the brain is a flexible task machine that adapts and learns to response to any stimulus with time and practice.

Seeing this research scientists think the time has come to rehabilitate sight of blind individuals using sensory substitution devices like the lab’s app ‘EyeMusic’ which scans the images and transforms them into sounds for blind people to perceive.

[Source: Cell Press | Image Original Source: Unknown, Seen On Various Websites]

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