Seeing with Sound is Professor Kay’s long-term goal – for blind persons, robots, and self guided wheelchairs for the severely disabled persons. He is also involved with seeing with sound in the automation field. His very early ultrasonic torch for the blind led directly to ultrasonics being exploited by Polaroid for cameras, automation, robot guidance, and height/weight machines. Ultrasonic sensing is now everywhere. The Polaroid use of ultrasonics did not exploit his CTFM technology which provides a sensing facility comparable with the finger tip. Now KASPA Technology enables totally blind boys to hit a thrown baseball with a baseball bat. See www.batforblind.co.nz The video is on a separate page.
It is now evident that the human auditory system can assimilate the KASPA three dimensional sonar sound sufficient to track the trajectory of a thrown ball with great accuracy in real time. Professor Kay and colleagues are studying this unexpected outcome of blind persons using KASPA. The two inputs to the ears carries information about an object’s position in the wide 3D field of view. This information is not related directly to the Euclidean Geometry of the situation. It is instead time dependant on the change of frequency in use. Remarkably the hearing system has been able through neuronal correlation and synchrony to analyse the sound signatures to assess the situation and provide the motor system with the information required to swing the bat and make ball contact at the right place and moment. This is not done by chance. The skill was developed in boys by the Guru teacher of the blind Kazuhiko Imamura of Yokohama.