Blind people develop accurate mental map by playing 'video' game

September 19, 2012

Researchers have developed a new "video" game for blind people that can help them learn about a new space using only audio cues, as reported Sep. 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The system, developed by a team led by Lotfi Merabet of Harvard Medical School and Jaime Sánchez of the University of Chile, is called the Audiobased Environment Simulator and uses only audio-based cues to allow blind users to learn about the layout of a previously unfamiliar building.

After playing the game, participants were better able to navigate a real-world version of the space explored in the , confirming that the spatial information learned in the game was accurate and transferrable.

"Learning through such interactive games represents an innovative and motivating way to improve crucial skills that allow to remain functionally independent", says Merabet.

Explore further: Leveling the gaming field

More information: Merabet LB, Connors EC, Halko MA, Sa´nchez J (2012) Teaching the Blind to Find Their Way by Playing Video Games. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44958. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044958

Related Stories

Leveling the gaming field

May 13, 2008

A new computer game developed by MIT and Singaporean students makes it possible for visually impaired people to play the game on a level field with their sighted friends.

Virtual maps for the blind

September 10, 2009

The blind and visually impaired often rely on others to provide cues and information on navigating through their environments. The problem with this method is that it doesn't give them the tools to venture out on their own, ...

Recommended for you

Flower power—photovoltaic cells replicate rose petals

June 24, 2016

With a surface resembling that of plants, solar cells improve light-harvesting and thus generate more power. Scientists of KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) reproduced the epidermal cells of rose petals that have particularly ...

New device could unlock information potential of sunlight

June 24, 2016

People rely on sunlight for heat, light, and energy every day, but three Penn State researchers believe we're missing a valuable piece of information that sunlight itself could provide—the dynamic directions of incoming ...

Ultra-thin solar cells can bend around a pencil

June 20, 2016

Scientists in South Korea have made ultra-thin photovoltaics flexible enough to wrap around the average pencil. The bendy solar cells could power wearable electronics like fitness trackers and smart glasses. The researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.