Thu. Jul 11th, 2024

Technology lets blind individuals see solar eclipses.

By nr39r Apr6,2024
News

Those who are blind or visually challenged will be able to hear and feel the celestial event that is occurring during the eclipse. Those who are seeing the eclipse will be looking up at the sky.

People who are blind will have access to gadgets that can make sounds and provide tactile sensations during the total solar eclipse that will pass across North America in April.

A student in high school in Austin, Texas, Yuki Hatch, adds that she believes that everyone should have the opportunity to witness an eclipse at least once in their lifetime since they are so breathtakingly beautiful.

As someone who is visually challenged and has a passion for space, Yuki Hatch has the aspiration of one day working as a computer scientist for NASA.

On the day of the eclipse, when the Moon will be in the position of passing between the Earth and the Sun, Yuki and her classmates at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired intend to sit outside in the schoolyard.

A little device known as a “LightSound Box” will be present for them to listen to. This device is capable of converting variations in light into sounds.

There will be high, delicate flute sounds that they will hear while the sun is shining brightly. When the moon starts to eclipse the sun, the clarinet’s middle notes are the ones that are played the most. There is a faint clicking sound that is used to represent the darkness.

Yuki Hatch adds, “I can’t wait to be able to hear the eclipse instead of seeing it,” and she is absolutely right.

The LightSound gadget is the outcome of a collaborative effort between Allyson Bieryla, an astronomer at Harvard, and Wanda Díaz-Merced, an astronomer who is blind.

Wanda Díaz-Merced maintains a consistent practice of converting her data into audio in order to analyze trends within her research.

During the complete solar eclipse that made its way across the United States in 2017, a prototype of the gadget was utilized for the first time. Subsequently, the technology was utilized during future eclipses.

At least seven hundred and fifty devices are going to be distributed to venues in Mexico, the United States of America, and Canada that are organizing eclipse-related events this year. They are working together with other institutions to accomplish this goal.

The gadgets have been constructed through workshops hosted at universities and museums, and instructions for do-it-yourself construction may be found on the website of the organization.

There is no one who does not own the sky. According to Wanda Díaz-Merced, if this event is accessible to the rest of the world, then it is imperative that it includes accessibility for individuals who are blind.

“I want students to be able to hear the eclipse and the stars” .

According to Erin Fragola, manager of social action at the Perkins Library, which is affiliated with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, the library intends to broadcast the changing sounds of the LightSound device over Zoom so that members can listen to them online or by phone.

Age-related vision loss affects a significant number of the library’s elderly clients, in addition to the students that use the library.

When others use the Cadence tablet, which is manufactured by Tactile Engineering and is situated in Indiana, they will be able to experience the solar event through touch. Rows of dots that move up and down are displayed on this tablet, which is about the size of a mobile phone. Reading braille, seeing graphics and video clips, and playing video games are just some of the many applications that may be performed with it.

During the eclipse, “a student can put their hand on the device and feel the moon moving slowly across the sun,” explains Wunji Lau of Tactile Engineering. “This is a very exciting opportunity for students.”

During the previous academic year, the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired started using the tablet into its instructional program. During the blazing eclipse that occurred in October of last year, the tablet was used by a few of the students at the school.

The tablet will be available at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is where NASA will be holding its large eclipse viewing event. Jazmine Nelson, a sophomore, is excited to be a part of the crowd that is scheduled to attend.

“When you use the tablet, you get the feeling that you are a part of something,” she explains.

“This is a very rare opportunity, and it is possible that it will not come around again,” says Minerva Pineda-Allen, a fellow student.

On the other hand, those who are blind or visually impaired will be able to hear and feel the celestial event even if others who are watching the eclipse will be looking up at the sky.

During the total solar eclipse that will occur throughout North America on April 8, when the moon will be completely blocking out the sun for a few minutes, sound and touch gadgets will be made available to the general public at public events.

A senior in high school in Austin, Texas, Yuki Hatch, stated that she believes that everyone should have the opportunity to witness an eclipse at least once in their lives. “Eclipses are very beautiful things,” she added.

Hatch is a student who is visually challenged and has a passion for space exploration. He has aspirations of working for NASA as a computer scientist in the future. On the day of the eclipse, she and her classmates at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired intend to sit outdoors in the grassy quadrilateral of the school and listen to a little device known as a LightSound box. This device is capable of converting the shifting light into sounds.

There are high, delicate flute notes that will be heard when the sun is shining brightly. When the moon starts to cover the sun, the notes that are in the middle range are similar to those of a clarinet. A low clicking sound is used to create the illusion of darkness.

“Instead of being able to see the eclipse, I’m looking forward to being able to actually hear it,” remarked Hatch.

A cooperation between Wanda Díaz-Merced, an astronomer who is blind, and Allyson Bieryla, an astronomer from Harvard, resulted in the creation of the LightSound gadget. As part of her research, Díaz-Merced frequently converts her data into audio in order to investigate trends more thoroughly.

During the total solar eclipse that occurred in the United States in 2017, a prototype was utilized for the first time. Since then, the handheld gadget has been utilized during other eclipses.

This year, they are collaborating with other organizations with the intention of sending at least seven hundred and fifty devices to areas in Mexico, the United States of America, and Canada that are conducting eclipse events. In order to construct the gadgets, they offered workshops at universities and museums, and they also provided instructions for do-it-yourself construction on the website of the group.

There is no one who does not own the sky. And if this event is accessible to the rest of the world, then it must also be accessible to those who are blind, as stated by Díaz-Merced. It is my hope that students will be able to hear the eclipse as well as the stars themselves.

According to Erin Fragola, the outreach manager at the Perkins Library, which is affiliated with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, the library intends to broadcast the shifting tones of the LightSound device over Zoom so that members can listen to it online or over the phone.

Through the use of the Cadence tablet, which was developed by Tactile Engineering in Indiana, other people would be able to experience the solar event through their fingers. The size of the tablet is comparable to that of a mobile phone, and it features rows of dots that move up and down. A wide range of activities, including reading Braille, experiencing visuals and movie clips, and playing video games, are all possible with this device.

During the eclipse, “A student can put their hand over the device and feel the moon slowly move over the sun,” said Wunji Lau, who works with Tactile Engineering.

During the previous academic year, the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired began using the tablet into its instructional offerings. Some of the students at the school were able to witness the “ring of fire” eclipse that occurred in October of last year using the tablet.

Jazmine Nelson, a sophomore, is excited to be a part of the substantial throng that is anticipated to attend the large eclipse-watching event that NASA is hosting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The tablet will be available for purchase at this event.

As a result of using the tablet, “You can feel as though you are a part of something,” she explained.

Added her fellow student Minerva Pineda-Allen, who is also a classmate. This is a really unique opportunity, and it is possible that I will never get another chance like this again.

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By nr39r

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