vOICe, the synthetic vision system

vOICe, the synthetic vision system, – the unique chance for the blind people to see the world again

Russian Transhumanist Movement is carrying out the socially significant project, the aim of which is to give the blind people the ability to navigate and take care of themselves.

Today there are hundreds of thousands of blind people in Russia. Two-thirds of them are children and teens. Every second they have difficulties performing everyday activities.

Russian Transhumanist Movement (RTM) started the vOICe system project, a sound vision system for the blind people. Because the human brain neuroplasticity, it allows a blind person to have the synthetic vision. Continuously scanning the environment and translating images into the encoded audio signal (which the brain converts into an analog of a black‑and‑white image), the vOICe helps blind people to identify large font and moving objects, what gives the ability to navigate in the room.

The vOICe system is based on the possibility of the conversion of the sound signals into the visual ones. For example, more brightly colored objects produce the sound of a higher frequency, and a built‑in color identifier name the colour of an object. As for now, the system cannot allow you to “see” fast‑moving cars or to recognize the fine print, but it gives an opportunity to recognize the building, read the signs, and even watch TV. Using the vOICe can be compared to learning a foreign language: after some time users are comfortable with the conversion of the sound into an image and are able to recognize the environment automatically.

vOICe was developed by Peter Meijer, a scientist at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands. “All things have their own unique sound, and once you understand the principle of the system, you can ‘see’ the things around you”, says the developer. Now, due to RTM’s activity this system could be available in Russia.

The induction of such systems by means of the government support is a long and not always successful process. Therefore, RTM has decided to start crowdfunding for the vOICe on Boomstarter. 350 000 rubles are required to make five prototypes and organize the training process. Now, the process of fundraising is in full play thanks to the people who are interested in the implementation of this socially significant project. Within a week the project was supported by more than a hundred of people, raised more than a half of the necessary funds, which confirms its necessity and importance. Among those who supported the project on Boomstarter, there were the foreigners, including the developer of the system P. Mayer, whose appeals to support the project has put the initiative of RTD at the global level.

You could learn more about the project and take part in it on https://boomstarter.ru/projects/trapeznikovip/zvukovoe_zrenie_voice.

Absolutely anybody could participate in the vOICe project, support the development of the sound vision system and give blind people the opportunity to say: “Hi! I see you!”