sonar

Sonar device brings vision to those blind from birth

Friday, November 30, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: blind, vision, sonar

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem are developing a sonar-based device that, according to preliminary tests, already allows the congenitally blind to distinguish between different shapes and even to read. Just as shockingly, the device appears to activate areas of the brain that were formerly believed to be permanently damaged in such people.

"These results suggest that it may be possible, with the right technology and rehabilitation, to 'wake up' certain areas of the brain and access certain aspects of the visual world, even after ... a lifetime of blindness," researcher Laurent Cohen said.

The device was recently tested by a team of researchers from Hebrew University, the ICM Brain and Bone Marrow Institute Research Center, and NeuroSpin. The findings were published in the journal Neuron.

The sonar device is specifically designed for people who have been blind from birth. Known as a "sensory substitution device," it consists of a small video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and connected to a laptop or smart phone. The camera transmits information to the computer, which then converts the visual images into specific sounds and relays them to a set of headphones worn by the user. Each type of image corresponds to a certain sound; for example, an oblique line would be rendered as an increasingly high or low-pitched sound. This system allows the device to convert even complex images into auditory packages.

The researchers found that after only 70 hours of training with the device, congenitally blind users were able to correctly distinguish between different types of images, such as faces versus houses. They were also able to correctly identify people's locations and even read letters and words. The degree of visual detail that users were able to perceive was such that a sighted person who could see such detail would not be categorized as blind by the World Health Organization.

Reactivating the visual cortex

The researchers also used functional MRI scans to examine what occurred in the brain during use of the device. They found that the areas of the cerebral cortex associated with visual perception became highly active when users listened to auditory representations of visual cues.

Scientists had previously assumed that these regions of the brain simply fail to develop in the congenitally blind.

It's not just the overall visual cortex that becomes active, either. In people with normal vision, for example, a specific region of the visual cortex in the brain's left hemisphere, known as the VWFA, becomes much more active when people look at a string of letters than when they look at anything else. This exact same differential response was seen in patients using the sensory substitution device.

The findings support the hypothesis that what the visual cortex actually does is analyze shapes, and that it can perform this task based on any kind of sensory input.

"The fact that this specialization for reading develops after just a few hours of training shows a remarkable degree of cerebral plasticity," researcher Stanislas Dehaene said.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127130148.htm

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.