Anyone working in the IVR industry can attest to the stunning complexity of sound.
Not only are humans capable of producing a huge range of unique sounds, but our brains are especially good at interpreting and cataloging an impossibly large range of noises.
Everyday we solve problems using sound in new, exciting ways and today is no exception.
According to Science Daily, Dr. Amir Amedi and Ph.D. candidate Ella Striem-Amit of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem recently conducted a study that used sound to help the blind see.
The study focused on eight congenitally (from birth) blind participants.
The researchers gave each participant a Sensory Substitution Device, or SSD, which converts visual images into soundscapes. Each participant was then given an eye exam and scored within the World Health Organization’s range for vision (although on the low-vision end of the scale).
Despite never having the ability to see, the participants could read.
The SSD used in this study was developed in Holland and is called, “the vOICe.”
In testing, vOICe developer Dr. Peter Meijer found that users who underwent a brief training session with the SSD were able to discern complex everyday objects, locate people and identify their postures and facial expressions.
What’s most interesting, though, is that the vOICe actually has better results than the most high-tech product available today, retinal prosthesis (bionic eyes).
And, the vOICe is cheaper.
These tests, while still early, show the incredible power of sound when connected with the human mind.
As we continue to develop our understanding of this connection, we can improve our IVR systems to have better voices and to deliver information in a better way.
What’s more, by understanding how the blind interpret these soundscapes, we can apply our corporate tech to making better gadgets for the visually impaired, not to mention making corporate calls much more enjoyable.