Virtual Self-Training of a Sensory Substitution Device for Blind Individuals

Galit Buchs, Benedetta Heimler, Menachem Kerem, Shachar Maidenbaum, Liraz Braun, Amir Amedi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


One of the main bottlenecks to the adoption of Sensory Substitution Devices (SSDs) in everyday life by blind users is the difficulty in learning to interpret their algorithms and the consequent dependency on sighted instructors throughout the learning-process. Here we test the efficacy of a virtual online self-training program we developed for learning the basics of the EyeMusic, a visual-to-auditory SSD. Furthermore, to better understand the properties of self-training we tested the intuitiveness of the device, based on performance after a brief explanation but no exposure, and tested several variations on feedback during self-training.We tested the performance of two groups of sighted participants via pre-post identical exams, with intermediate training lessons. These groups were offered different feedback after experiencing the auditory stimuli - either a visual version of the stimuli or a textual description.After a brief explanation of the EyeMusic algorithm, and before training, participants scored 41±10.6% in the exam, significantly above chance. Self-training led to a highly significant improvement with a 59±12% score in the post-exam. No significant difference was found between the post-exam results of the two different feedback groups.These results demonstrate the possibility to self-train on the basics of a whole-scene visual-to-auditory SSD. Furthermore, visual access to the images during training did not seem to improve the final score, demonstrating the potential efficacy of such self-training method also for blind users.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICVR 2019 - International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9781728112855
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event2019 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR 2019 - Tel Aviv, Israel
Duration: 21 Jul 201924 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR
ISSN (Electronic)2331-9569


Conference2019 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR 2019
CityTel Aviv


  • blindness
  • multisensory processing
  • online training
  • self-training
  • sensory substitution
  • vision rehabilitation
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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