According to EurekAlert!, blind patients can be taught technique that allows using the hearing to make objects visible. This conclusion is contained in an article published in the scientific journal Neuron, and written by researchers from the international group of Israeli and French scientists, led by Professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Amir of Amedi.
For their research Amedi and his colleagues have developed a device with which they were recoding of visual signals into sound. The instrument comprises a miniature camera and headphones connected to a computer or smartphone.
The device converts the image from the camera to the sounds occurs for a given algorithm. Such devices allow patients who have violated the work of one of the analyzers to implement absorbing and correct interpretation of information coming from outside, using other senses.
These studies indicate that the participants of the experiments, which had a congenital vision loss turned out to be quite 70 hours of training to master the principle of operation of the conversion device. Then they learned to distinguish between textures and objects, including the house and face. In addition, volunteers were able to determine the position of other people, to see the expression on the face, as well as to read some letters and words.
Using magnetic resonance imaging, the scientists made the sign of the excitation of the visual cortex in the brain of blind patients. A group of Amedi detected excitation in the brain, which is responsible for the implementation of visual perception of letters. Just two hours of training was enough patients to achieve activation of this region of cortex.
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Thus, the researchers were able to show renewed activity of brain areas involved in processing information, it is possible, even if the vision loss is long-term in nature. As said Amadi, using applied during the experiments, the conversion device may be both an independent and combined application of bionic prosthetic eye.