The App you have to see to believe

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IMRIC and You
By: 

Molly Livingstone

Molly Livingstone

Molly Livingstone never did well at science, but that hasn’t stopped her from appreciating it. Here at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) she is able to witness first-hand, the innovative breakthroughs changing the face of medicine, on a daily basis. Living in Israel, Molly has the opportunity of visiting the IMRIC labs, talking with the students and faculty about their latest research, and getting to know the people behind these great minds.

The EyeMusic App

The Smartphone just got a little smarter with the EyeMusic App, developed and created by IMRIC’s Prof. Amir Amedi. The App is an innovative SSD (Sensory Substitution Device). SSDs provide representations of visual information and can help the blind "see" colors and shapes. To get an idea of what a SSD is, you can watch Graduate Student Ella’s vlog. Ella is a researcher in Prof. Amedi’s lab. In her vlog, Ella gives an insightful explanation and hands-on experience of SSDs and their functions. In a nutshell, SSDs are able to scan images and transform the information into audio or touch signals. The people who use SSDs are trained to understand the different sounds, enabling them to recognize the image without seeing it. Thus, blind people can see through sound.

Prof. Amedi and his team have created the EyeMusic that transmits shape and color information through a composition of pleasant musical tones, or "soundscapes." What is even more remarkable, this is one of the first SSDs to incorporate the use of color. Prof. Amedi stressed that the use of enabling color to musical timbre can lead to more complex shapes in the future.

And if we we’re looking into the future, then an additional hope of the EyeMusic would be for it to become a tool for neuroscience research. "It would be intriguing to explore the plastic changes associated with learning to decode color information for auditory timbre in the congenitally blind, who never experience color in their life. The utilization of the EyeMusic and its added color information in the field of neuroscience could facilitate exploring several questions in the blind with the potential to expand our understanding of brain organization in general," Prof. Amedi explains.

Now it’s your turn, download the App and check it out for yourself! Seeing believing!