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Re: Is it brain plasticity, or what?

Thanks to all who replied privately and on the list
with informative comments and references.

Ward Drennan wrote

> Other than speech and perhaps music for musicians,
> I can't imagine anything thing else that would be
> so cognitively demanding (Maybe SONAR operation?)

Well, one experienced blind user of the Sonicguide
sonar device indeed replied after reading the same
report that I posted here on the list yesterday,

> This kind of thing also happens with the Sonicguide.
> One day it just seems to somehow meld with you and 
> when you remove it something is then missing.

and another experienced blind Sonicguide user wrote
at another occasion

> As I said here some time ago, while I was doing some
> fairly useful things with the Sonicguide after two
> weeks of intensive training, I was still learning
> two years later.

Sonar devices, which perform sound-to-sound mapping,
are not cross-modal like The vOICe's image-to-sound
mapping is, while the pitch dimension indicates
distance rather than elevation, but one can indeed
draw some parallels. Both Sonicguide and The vOICe
are information-rich auditory displays targetting
use by totally blind people, and I have in the past
enjoyed quite a few discussions with the inventor of
the Sonicguide, Leslie Kay, about what the respective
devices/approaches can and cannot do. One can find a
recent paper on the Sonicguide in JASA 107, June 2000,
pp. 3266-3275 ("Auditory perception of objects by
blind persons, using a bioacoustic high resolution
air sonar," by Leslie Kay).

Best wishes,

Peter Meijer

Seeing with Sound - The vOICe