Blindness has plague humankind since the beginning of time, sparking the urban legend that when one sense is compromised, others improve to pick up the slack. The scientists at ABBI Project hope to prove that legend is right. ABBI, or Audio Bracelet for Blind Interaction, aims to provide a technological solution for blindness.
The bracelet is a rehabilitative device for young children and adults alike who suffer from blindness or other visual disability. The idea is to use auditory cues to give the user information about their location in relation to their environment. It will also give them cues based on their movement, limbs, and events happening around them in real time. According to Wilfried Nass of Designing Sound, “research of a sound source with the movement of the person is a natural way to link action and perception, which is fundamental for the development of the sense of space,” making ABBI a logical and practical device for the blind. ABBI helps the user interaction with others as well. The bracelet was made with community in mind, allowing multiple bracelets to work together giving several users a better sense of each other. In this way, ABBI is shown to improve the social skills of blind children and adults.
The bracelet offers other useful features that will assist the parents and caretakers of the visually impaired. The device stores a log of activity that can be accesses through a smartphone or computer. It can also send real-time notifications of the user’s movements to a phone. It’s versatile enough to be mounted on objects like toys to give users a sort-of echo location of their environment.
While it might be one of the senses we take for granted, sound holds a lot potential. New implications like this one can improve countless lives.
- Nass, W. (2017, January 6.) Helping visually impaired children through audio – An interview with Monica Gori from ABBI. Retrieved January 29th, 2017 from http://designingsound.org/2017/01/helping-visually-impaired-children-through-audio-an-interview-with-monica-gori-from-abbi/