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New Radar Device Helps Blind People 'See'

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the falling-scales dept.

Input Devices 73

greenrainbow writes "Students in Israel at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed new technology that allows blind people to 'see' objects around them through a simple radar system. The device consists of a computer, two video cameras, and a scanning light source; it audibly alerts the individual of objects that are in close proximity. The system scans surrounding objects and their distance from two points, much like the human eyes. Unlike current sensor canes, this new light scanning device is a hands-free system that can sense objects on the ground, overhead, and in the periphery."

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73 comments

Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459282)

If these people are able to detect objects around them via arriving photons, then it's sight. Artificial, for sure, but still sight.

see - 2.a. To apprehend as if with the eye. b. To detect by means analogous to use of the eye.

IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (-1, Offtopic)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459372)

Will the blind America ever see the crime of Israel?

On the Gaza Relief Flotilla, an American Citizen - born in New York, Was Shot Five Times, including Four Times in Head. That is not self defense, that is execution.

Obama is studying the situation.

McCain thinks we are not doing enough to support Israel in this crisis.

Biden wonders what all the fuss is about.

And there are high placed members of the US government, proudly "dual-citizens" of US and Israel. In former times, this was called treason.

All these politicians, including the hundreds who take campaign money from AIPAC which represents the nation that just hijacked a US flagged ship in international waters, kidnapped 12 Americans, and murdered one, all hope they can convince you that immigration and gay marriage are the issues this election year.

I disagree

The issue is Israel.

No government can serve two masters and a government that serves Israel cannot serve the American people.

A politician who proclaims themselves a friend of Israel thus in the same breath proclaims himself an enemy of America.

America needs leaders who put America first, second, and third.

America needs leaders who put America first, second, and third.

America needs leaders who put America first, second, and third.

That is the only issue this election.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459680)

You're right these Hamas death worshipping islamists are the victims. Victims who blow up buildings, who go to universities, cafes and hospitals in Israel and commit murder/suicide bombings on innocent men/women/children. That is not a valid way of standing up for your cause, and as long as THAT sort of activity is promoted and condoned by organizations such as Hamas, Israel has a responsibility to protect itself. And for your own education of international LAW, you should go read up on what a NAVAL BLOCKADE is. Israel was 100% within the law in boarding those ships and retaliating when attached. Maritime law governs all seafaring nations. Learn something new you ignorant fool.

So while Hamas and other terrorist organizations work out creative ways to murder and maim, Israeli universities will continue to produce innovative and exciting new technologies to HELP people.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459710)

Dear troll:

I'll just comment on your first point -- the rest of your statements appear to follow from that:

On the Gaza Relief Flotilla, an American Citizen - born in New York, Was Shot Five Times, including Four Times in Head. That is not self defense, that is execution.

The American Citizen who was shot was Furkan Dogan. A Turkish-American, 19 years old who is ONLY an American Citizen because of the 14th amendment. He was born here while is father was attending school in NY. He left the US with his family when he was 2 years old. Your self-edited statement gives an incomplete, if not utterly misleading picture.

NPR Interview. Quite interesting [npr.org]

Talking about the region where Furkan lived and was raised:

SIEGEL: From what I hear you saying, these people would be regarded by most Turks as not exactly typical. They were from a particular stream of Turkish life, on the religious side, perhaps on the extremely religious side. Fair?

Ms. ROOKE: They certainly are extremely religious, yes. I mean a lot of them belong to, like I said, political parties that associated with political Islam. There was one man who worked Vakat, which is considered to be a very conservative Islamic publication.

In fact, some of them are quite controversial characters, that political affiliations would be considered as radical Islam. But, of course, the people on the boat, they're not radical Islamists at all, they're just people providing humanitarian aid to those in need on the Gaza Strip.

So there's a debate and a big divide within Turkish society about whether they shouldve gone in the first place or not.

Rooke, along with reporting, also includes the commentary: "But, of course, the people on the boat, they're not radical Islamists at all, they're just people providing humanitarian aid to those in need on the Gaza Strip." It's an interesting comment from her when this hasn't been established and there are reports to the contrary and considering the origins of at least the "American"...

I'm not saying this was right or wrong. I'm saying we don't know everything yet and you are painting an incomplete and VERY slanted picture.

But that's your job, isn't? As a troll?

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459718)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459770)

Seriously, why does every article about something an Israeli company or university achieves, makes people talk about politics ?
It got nothing to do with it.

It's especially annoying when those who talk about politics, know nothing about Israel, or what's going on over there.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32460030)

It's a country full of Jews. What else do you need to know? Their behavior is pretty much what you'd expect.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32460304)

Take one of the most historically hated groups of people to ever live and stick 40% of them into a little tiny area. What do you think will happen any time they're mentioned? Luckily, in today's enlightened era, we're beyond racism, so we attack 'policy'.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32460374)

There are a few reasons they're one of the most historically hated groups of people to ever live. And no, it's not just because a yarmulke is a terrible fashion statement.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0, Offtopic)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460580)

Because Hitler blamed all economic woes on the Jews, people from the midwest tell stories about Jews all having horns despite having never met a Jew to know, and because people like Mel Gibson blame the Jews as a whole for the death of Jesus and depict them as animalistic savages?

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32468860)

No. Because like firearms, they're usually found suspiciously close to the scene of the crime.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32462956)

"It's a country full of Jews. What else do you need to know? Their behavior is pretty much what you'd expect."
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like we're beyond racism..

Re: [OT] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32464584)

There is a very big difference between attacking Jews because of racism, and arguing about Israel because the government is behaving in ways counter to established principles of western governance.

I love America. The people here have their quirky flaws, but they're generally a hopeful, helpful people. I don't know that I could always say the same thing about the national government. Does that make me anti-American? No, because I feel that Americans are a good people who deserve a better government.

Does being upset with Israel's policy of retribution and suppressing the perceived enemy mean I'm anti-Jew? No, because I feel that Israelis are a good people who deserve a better government.

Do better.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32460050)

Will the blind America ever see the crime of Israel?

On the Gaza Relief Flotilla, an American Citizen - born in New York, Was Shot Five Times, including Four Times in Head. That is not self defense, that is execution.

Dreadful, certainly.

But insightful? This is as off-topic as those fanboy flamewars and racist screeds that crop up here every now and then.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32464276)

I so wish I had mod points ... I'd mod you down to nothing, you stupid git! How about pulling your head out of your ass so you can see.

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32466682)

(Score:-1, Jew)

Re:IRONY? Israeli's Help the BLIND to SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32467656)

No, actually not. But you know what? I'm proud to be called a Jew if an ass-hat like you thinks it's an insult. And you're reinforcing my conviction that I'm backing the right side.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459374)

Wrong, the device is by definition able to 'see' but that perception is translated into auditory signals and the person using the device is able to hear, not see.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (2, Interesting)

slashsloth (1596555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459588)

Yes the system maps the surrounding to sounds, i.e., it is a sonfication system. The big question is: how to effectively and meaningfully map a complex, dynamic visual scene (the immediate world around a person) to sounds such that it makes sense to the listener and communicates useful information? There is a good amount of research to show that, especially those who are blind from birth, have a very distinct and unique perception on the physical world; consequently a mapping that may work for a sighted person may not be any help to a visually impaired user. There have been a number of such systems developed in the past: some based on raster scanning, mapping snapshots of the current scene to a soundscape, and others that attempt to do qualitative analysis of scene images and express these with mappings developed in conjunction with visually impaired users. In all cases the issue is mapping images to sound in such a way as makes sense to a person who has never been able to see.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460402)

Why does the intermediate data format affect whether they're seeing? Is your definition of sight really limited to "perceiving photons hitting a wet carbon-based light sensor, then being transmitted to a carbon-based brain via electrical impulses"? Does this mean that when I look at a live video feed over the Internet, I'm not actually seeing what the camera is pointed at?

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32463552)

No, you really aren't. You're seeing an emission of photons from your computer monitor, generated by your computer. The particular arrangement and state of said photons is generated based on a series of digital data packets generated from the other end of things, designed to approximate the image that the camera is pointed at to a degree of accuracy commensurate with the quality of the hardware and software that make up the camera itself and whatever computer (even integrated into the camera) is arranging the input into said data packets, as well as the equipment on your end of things. A number of things are lost in part in this process, among them being overall image fidelity, color depth, and perspective. Fidelity and color depth are questionable as, depending on the individual and the technology in use, theoretically those could eventually exceed the precision perceivable by the human eye. Perspective, however, will in nearly all cases be lost at least partially, as even if individual cameras are used to create separate images displayed to each eye, those cameras would need to have their placement and lens' adjusted to be proportional to the distance between any given individuals eyes (varies from person to person) and the state of any given individuals lenses (also varies from person to person). Even if this is perfected, the "glasses" would need to be set perfectly to maintain that perspective, letting them slide up your face or down your nose a bit would throw things off.
 
If watching a live video feed on the internet truly is the same as seeing what the camera is pointed at, Then would watching a live video feed of a band be the same as actually seeing them live? Doubtful, though both have their relative merits.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (3, Interesting)

Forge (2456) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459520)

The semantics of it hardly matter. What I want to know is:
1. Will she be able to walk down the road or throgh an unfamiliar building without the cane?
2. Will we be able to afford this new gadget?
3. Will this be streamlined enough to wear comfortably?

If I get the right answers to all those questions I'll be among the 1st slash-doters to post a review.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459942)

And we can gather from your post and eagerness to review such a device; that you are in fact blind... wait...

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460276)

And we can gather from your post and eagerness to review such a device; that you are in fact blind... wait...

Would it really be a review if the viewer had never seen before?

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460544)

Or perhaps a close loved one or personal friend is blind to this individual. Watching other people's frustration and/or success is a great review. Plus, an individual could "talk to the person" and give us a great synopsis of that review.

Play nice people. :)

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 3 years ago | (#32461726)

"Close loved one" is correct. While she doesn't read SlashDot much, she is a better writer than I am (isn't everybody?).

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#32462104)

You're too humble. Your spelling is fine is both posts and your writing was clear and informative. Stop beating yourself up.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32461530)

You might be interested in the more advanced "artificial synesthesia" advanced technology:

http://www.seeingwithsound.com/asynesth.htm [seeingwithsound.com] ...though I am surprised they do it with a square raster. It should really be polar/arranged to the geometry of the human eye. Also they could use some pedestral-based output improvements no doubt.

I'm a bit skeptical about these things because blind people use their hearing so well, and these would mask natural sounds. They might be better for the recently blinded.

Also this Isreali system has been done before by british bodgers.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32463732)

I've always wanted to take a laser range finder, attach it to a pitch modulator, and see if it would be possible to walk down the street manually scanning around to see the depth of the world around you, one point at a time.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (2, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459702)

"If these people are able to detect objects around them via arriving photons, then it's sight."

Did you read the summary?
"The device consists of a computer, two video cameras, and a scanning light source; it audibly alerts the individual of objects"

So not sight, anymore then saying bats can see at night because they're using sonar.

Also this article is darn right awful, from the horrible use of stock photo usage to the inaccurate use of the word radar [wikipedia.org], meaning electromagnetic waves, not the two video cameras this system is using. Where's the photos of the device? Pics or it didn't happen.

I also love how the article says that guide dogs are color blind so that's a "deadly disadvantage" when reading street signs, yet this system only "alerts the individual of objects that are close in proximity" with no warning about street signs at all. Yeah, I'm going to have to go with the color blind guide dog because at least it can tell me there's a sign there and I need to stop instead of just beeping.

I'm also a bit surprised something similar doesn't exist already: you mean to tell me no one's thought of having a camera tell the blind they're too close? Proximity sensors [wikipedia.org] have existed in cars for years [wikipedia.org] and it's essentially the same idea: get to close to an object and the system beeps, and the closer you are the faster it beeps. No one thought "Gee blind people could use this too". Although maybe no one bothered because guide dogs sure seem like the better solution according to this article.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (2, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460152)

the inaccurate use of the word radar [wikipedia.org], meaning electromagnetic waves, not the two video cameras this system is using.

What makes you say cameras don't work on electromagnetic waves? After all, visible light consists of electromagnetic waves. Yes, most commercial radar systems use microwaves instead of visible light, but that's not a requirement for something to be called radar.

And also,

not sight

I disagree. The system measures light. The fact that it uses the ear to inform the person of what it sees is irrelevant. It can see stars, rainbows and things coming at you faster than the speed of sound. You can't hear rainbows, or can you?

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460358)

The sensation of "seeing" something is qualititatively different from that of "hearing" something. You get to lose the quote-marks when it's something analogous to a cochlear implant for the eye.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32461120)

So you're saying that sight is just about conscious experience, not about detecting photons and forming a mental model of the objects that are around you reflecting the photons? That I could be seeing even though there are no photons (pitch dark), or that I could be not-seeing even though I'm able to navigate my surroundings based on light I'm picking up? I guess we'll never have a computer/robot with sight, either, because they aren't conscious!

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32463396)

The problem is mainly semantic, but I still think it's worth arguing.

You've got a choice whether you want to call something that perceives light to build a model of its environment as being something that "sees". In this case you'd have to point out that our conscious visual perception is some sort of extra thing, if you were describing a bionic eye for example. Or you could say that "seeing" includes this element and that we should refer to the device in the article as allowing people to perceive light through their hearing.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32467522)

Delightfully pointless. I love /.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32467786)

Well, there are some non-pointless reasons to be careful with language. Quite often in the sciences words are used metaphorically that have a particular "everyday" meaning to most people. There is a danger of people (scientists included) forgetting that these words are being used metaphorically. This kind of thing happens a lot in the cognitive neuroscience literature.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32461126)

Are you one of those people that corrects the blind when they say they're "watching" television?

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#32463082)

The pedant part of me says RAdio Detection And Ranging requires radio-waves by definition. If visible light is used, it is call LI(ght)DAR.

Another part of me says as long as the "audible signal" sounds like the pinging sound they use in movies, it is awesome.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 3 years ago | (#32468812)

the inaccurate use of the word radar [wikipedia.org], meaning electromagnetic waves, not the two video cameras this system is using.

What makes you say cameras don't work on electromagnetic waves? After all, visible light consists of electromagnetic waves. Yes, most commercial radar systems use microwaves instead of visible light, but that's not a requirement for something to be called radar.

RAdio Detection And Ranging
Radio = not visible light.
It is in fact a requirement for something to be called radar, unless the person has no idea what they are talking about. That's why we have different words for SONAR and LIDAR.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460340)

If these people are able to detect objects around them via arriving photons, then it's sight."

Did you read the summary?

"The device consists of a computer, two video cameras, and a scanning light source; it audibly alerts the individual of objects"

So not sight, anymore then saying bats can see at night because they're using sonar.

Then I must not have sight either, because my seeing device consists of some light detectors and a light source, which alerts me of objects via electrical impulses to my brain. I suppose those blind people who have cameras connected to grids of electrodes on their upper back are also not seeing. My point is that in all these cases it is sight; a person is able to perceive photons via some interface between their brain and the physical world.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#32466002)

Also, guide dogs aren't colorblind. There are a few breeds of dalmatians that are, but on the whole it's a myth.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459936)

They're not really 'scare' quotes. It's just a shorthand for saying 'this is what my source called it, but some people may disagree'.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#32462690)

That's not what the dictionary [merriam-webster.com] says.

4 a : the process, power, or function of seeing; specifically : the physical sense by which light stimuli received by the eye are interpreted by the brain and constructed into a representation of the position, shape, brightness, and usually color of objects in space b : mental or spiritual perception c : mental view; specifically : judgment

You might have misinterpreted this part:

6 a : a perception of an object by or as if by the eye <never lost sight of the objective>

I wonder, though, by Webster's definition, is my "sight" really sight? My left eye is partly artificial. [slashdot.org] Is it still an eye?

pedantry can be so confusing sometimes...

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32464496)

It says "by the eye." It does not actually say "by your eye." Certain dictionaries expand the traditional definition of eye to include all photovoltaic devices, such as recording CCD's and fish-skins that sense darkness. And Merriam-Webster isn't as definitive as the Oxford English Dictionary, though I don't have one of those handy at the moment.

And of course, perception is more fluid than most people feel comfortable with. Certain people taste colors or feel sounds. If you put upside-down glasses on, within a week your brain will have re-organized your perception filter so that everything is back right-side up again. Remote haptic perception means that we have actual sizable portions of our brain dedicated to sensing with things that aren't actually part of our bodies, such as walking sticks. When talking in a foreign language, most people hear words: but talking in a native language, most people hear concepts. When I close my eyes and feel around a space, my brain intuitively translates this into a visual mockup of the space. The deaf people use the same part of their brain to make sense of braille as sighted people do to make sense of visual material, and we still call that "reading."

Your brain is getting a representation of the space inside it. Whether that route is visual sensor -> electrical stimulus -> brain, or visual sensor -> electrical stimulus -> compression waves -> electrical stimulus -> Brain, the ultimate point is similar. Is that "seeing"? If you're using cameras to sense stimulus around you, a completely holographic train running silently down the street at this person would still cause them to jump out of the way. They used a completely light-based medium to understand the situation they're in. That's a pretty practical definition of seeing to me.

Re:Why the scare quotes? They ARE seeing (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#32467056)

They should have the quotes around the word "radar". This ain't radar. Radar uses a radio pulse and echo system, or a doppler shift, to detect distance. According to the article, this system uses parallax to determine distance. Furthermore, it uses light, not radio. (Yes, I know they're both electromagnetic radiation, but there are vast differences in how light and radio signals are generated and detected.)

And no, it isn't seeing. They are interpreting audio signals, not light signals. Would they be seeing if someone were to describe a scene to them? Of course not. Would they be able to understand the scene and picture it in their mind? Yes. But that isn't seeing.

sound sensors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459330)

aka parking device?

Left wanting (2, Interesting)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459396)

I found this interesting, but TFA is a little lacking. I'd still like to know how the sensory data is converted so that a blind person can use it. Does the system have a name so I can look it up?

back to the future (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459406)

didnt we have an article just a couple weeks ago about ocular implants becoming much more viable? being able to see, compared to having something see for you and alert you. are two totaly different things...i go for the former

Eyesight to the Blind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32459420)

You talk about your woman,
I wish you could see mine.
You talk about your woman,
I wish you could see mine.
Every time she starts to lovin'
She brings eyesight to the blind.

You know her daddy gave her magic,
I can tell by the way she walks.
Her daddy gave her magic,
I can tell by the way she walks.
Everytime she start to shakin'
The dumb begin to talk.

She's got the power to heal you, never fear!
She's got the power to heal you, never fear!
Just a word from her lips
And the deaf begin to hear.

An alternative (2, Informative)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459498)

There is a man who teaches other blind and partially sighted to "see" objects using echo location. He clicks his tongue and waits for the response. I know, it does sound unlikely, but he is extremely good and was featured on one of UK magician's Derren Brown's "The Events" shows last August or September.

Traffic signals (2, Interesting)

__roo (86767) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459546)

A system like this shouldn't have too much trouble identifying pedestrian "walk/don't walk" traffic signals and giving an audio signal when they turn red or green. GPS locations of known traffic lights should make this even easier. That would make navigating through a city much easier for the visually impaired. There's some research in this area (link [springerlink.com], link [springerlink.com]) already, but having a system like this in place makes it much more likely for a real, usable production system to eventually end up in the hands of the people who need it.

Re:Traffic signals (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460096)

Blindly following GPS directions tends not to work out all that well as some have found out the hard way.

Re:Traffic signals (2, Informative)

tao (10867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32460132)

At least in Sweden and Finland (probably a lot of other countries too) the traffic signals already emit audio signals for red and green (and also "soon to turn red").

Re:Traffic signals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32462910)

That's common in just about every city in Europe, North America, and Australia that I've been to.

This device would sure help with stop signs though.

Re:Traffic signals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32467318)

The ones around here have a two-tone signal on "walk" and no signal on "don't walk". I hear it as "Ha ha, you're blind, ha ha, you're blind..."

Re:Traffic signals (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 3 years ago | (#32464540)

A system like this shouldn't have too much trouble identifying pedestrian "walk/don't walk" traffic signals and giving an audio signal when they turn red or green. .

As others have noted, already done in Australia, Europe etc.

I've wondered if they could put micro-powered FM transmitters in every traffic light to announce what's going on. They could have a different broadcast frequency for each direction of crossing, and the custom FM receivers would change channel depending on compass bearing. With modern electronics I think this could be done very cheaply.

Computer vision (3, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459606)

thevOICe [seeingwithsound.com] is a computer vision system that can actually run on Android phones.

Re:Computer vision (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#32461182)

The article is thin on details, so I was wondering if it wasn't about the same thing except with depth information (as in, a depth map) instead of an unprocessed image.

If you hear a depth map it'll be a hell of a lot more useful to navigate through a crowd than raw images.

Audible warnings? (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#32459946)

Why use audible warnings? Why not use vibration. Make something like a belt or headband with cellphone-sized motors mounted around the thing. The vibrations can then indicate which direction has an obstacle. Seems more useful and more private than something beeping or talking to you.

Re:Audible warnings? (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 3 years ago | (#32464176)

That's an awesome idea. Four (or even eight) directions combined with variable vibration intensity could give you a good notion of both direction and proximity to an obstacle -- a cranial collision avoidance system. Very cool!

Combine that with some AI which could speak to you if it recognized an obstacle ("Table - 2 o'clock!" "Stairs - 12 o'clock!" "Mugger - 6 o'clock!") and you've got a real winner! I could use one myself, some days ...

bizna7ch (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32462144)

Stupihd. To the

Sheesh (0, Troll)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#32462372)

When will scientists give up on getting the blind to see? Jesus did it two thousand years ago, this is not a new feat people

</Kentucky school board>

mere distraction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32464104)

So Israeli scientists have developed something which can potentially benefit hundreds of thousands or even millions of sight-impaired people around the world in a manner which heretofore could only be contemplated in the pages of science fiction literature?

Ignore this Zionist ploy! It's a blatantly obvious attempt to distract us all in order to deflect attention from the IDF's heinous piracy on the high seas perpetrated on the innocent pro-Pales^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h completely-neutral activists who were attempting to deliver peaceful and badly-needed materials such as concrete, very short steel reinforcing bars, and axe handles to the jiha^h^h^h^h beleaguered peoples of Gaza.

Zionist pigs! How dare they attempt to blind us with science! Long live Arafat!
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