Virtually zooming-in with sensory substitution for blind users

Galit Buchs, Shachar Maidenbaum, Amir Amedi, Shelly Levy-Tzedek

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

2 Scopus citations


When perceiving a scene visually we constantly move our eyes and focus on particular details, which we integrate into a coherent percept. Can blind individuals integrate visual information this way? Can they even conceptualize zooming-in on sub-parts of visual images? We explore this question virtually using the EyeMusic Sensory Substitution Device (SSD). SSDs transfer information usually received by one sense via another, here 'seeing' with sound. This question is especially important for SSD users since SSDs typically down-sample the visual stimuli into low-resolution images in which zooming-in to sub-parts could significantly improve users' perception. Five blind participants used the EyeMusic with a zoom-mechanism in a virtual environment to identify cartoon figures. Using a touchscreen they could zoom into different parts of the image, identify individual facial features and integrate them into a full facial representation. These findings show that indeed such integration of visual information is possible even for users who are blind from birth and demonstrates the approach's potential for practical visual rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781479989843
StatePublished - 16 Dec 2015
Event11th Annual International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR 2015 - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 9 Jun 201512 Jun 2015

Publication series

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


Conference11th Annual International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, ICVR 2015


  • action-perception
  • active sensing
  • motor control
  • sensory substitution
  • vision rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Virtually zooming-in with sensory substitution for blind users'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this