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Guide bats.

[schematics] mentioned this last year and it's been percolating until now. [link 1]
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  [vote for,

Scientists have managed, using brain implants, to see through a cats eyes on a monitor, [link 2]. This makes me wonder if the sonar signals from a bats brain could be converted to audio.
I think that this would let blind people hear in stereo via cochlear implants, [link 3], or headphones, the size and distance of objects around them.
If the signals were changed to the sound of musical instruments, size of an object would be indicated by the tone of the instrument. For instance large objects like the bus coming from the left would register as a tuba or base guitar whereas the chiwawa crossing the street directly in front of you would sound like a piccolo or a violin and the mosquito buzzing around your head would be a barely heard cymbal or triangle.
Location of objects would come across in stereo so that the chiwawa can be heard equally by both ears as it is directly in front of you, the bus would sound only in the left ear until it passes to your right. Distances would come across as volume.

The bats would lead pampered lives and I believe could be trained to actually enjoy getting into their tiny papooses for a jaunt.
Aww, Isn’t he cute. [link 4]

Domesticate bats. Domesticate_20Bats
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2005]

Cats eyes. http://www.berkeley...acy/10-15-1999.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2005]

Cochlear implants. http://www.utdallas...cimplants/tutorial/
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2005]

Awwwww. http://images.googl...en%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2005]


       Are they ready for me now?
reensure, May 08 2005

       There's a program called the vOICe (Yes, it's spelled like that) that converts a webcam raster image to sound. It scans across the image, and with stereo headphones, left=left, right=right, up=higher pitched, down=lower pitched, brighter pixel value=louder.
-----, May 08 2005

       I amagine blind people already use sound to judge object proximity. There was a cool visualisation of this ability in the Daredevil movie. I think the use of 'representational' sounds would be an annoyance to a blind person. I think they'd prefer the 'true' sound reflectance of nearby objects, thereby enhacing the skills they already have.
xaviergisz, May 08 2005

       Yes, but stationary objects don't always emit noise.   

       Yep, so I'm saying: sonar for the blind is a good idea, but make the sounds they hear 'natural' rather than a cacophony of violins and tubas.   

       I have a very limited ability to sense object proximity with only my hearing, in particular when I'm walking outdoors next to a wall... the (ambient) sound reaching one of my ear closest to the wall is quieter and possibly attenuates high frequencies more than the other ear.
xaviergisz, May 08 2005

       I can understand how echo’s would distort the ability to hear the distance of something.
The only reason I thought that instruments would be useful is how easily we can tune out music in order to converse, also I thought that some amount of texture could be transmitted, the smoother the object is the more in tune and on key the sound would be. A ball would sound with a clear undistorted tone but a porcupine would sound very bad indeed.

       [reensure] I hope I'm not overstepping the bounds of common courtesy but, are you blind?   

       If you have the technology to do what your saying, then there is a much better solution. Instead of changing the signals into instrument sounds, change the signals into visual schematics in the brain (see DareDevil). We already do this with our own hearing, but not in a visual way.   

       You have special sensitive microphones (w/ limiters of course) that take in 3d signals and convert them into some sort of signal the visual cortex can read (similar to the signal functional eyes are sending) and the user should see something that allows them to "see" what is around them.   

       In fact, this has already been Baked, (although they didnt have 3d vision of everything around them ) However if we 'hear' in 3d there is no reason to think that we couldnt figure out how to let blind people see in 3d, even if its just patches of light the represent things around them.   

       [2 fries] If he was blind how did he write/read this? Oh.. nvrmd
SpocksEyebrow, May 09 2005


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