Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Brain Reorganization and Sensory Substitution Use in Blind Adults

Brief description of study

This research aims to examine how using certain types of visual assistive technology can influence behavior and brain activity in visually impaired individuals. The technology we use does something called ‘sensory substitution’ which is the process of turning a visual image into patterns of sound or touch. People using these devices can use these patterns of sound or touch to understand visual things in front of them. To understand the role of the brain, we use brain-imaging techniques such as ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’ (MRI). For this purpose, subjects will be trained on how to use sensory substitution devices to solve vision- related tasks via either audio or tactile stimulation. To subjects, this will either sound like musical tones delivered through headphones, or it might involve patterns of vibration on the body like those found in mobile phones, or even a ‘fizzing’ sensation on the tongue using a lollipop-shaped device that delivers small electric currents. This stimulation is non-invasive, which means devices are only put on the body’s surface. In addition, there will be tests to help us establish your visual, auditory, and tactile acuity.The vOICe, Synaestheatre, and Vibrovision Vest devices are considered investigational in this study because it is not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved/cleared for use outside of a research study like this one.




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