Sonification as a visual prosthesis


Visually impaired people navigating unfamiliar environments. 

Design concept

Major objects and walls in the environment are sonified to facilitate navigation and manipulation. Objects announce themselves in voice as the user scans a scene; walls make sounds as they are approached. Wayfinding is provided by repeating “follow me” in the desired direction.

Experiential qualities and related concepts

Control, fluency, overview, trustworthy, visibility.

Augmentation modality


Technical options

The computing power of the Hololens, and specifically its scene recognition and analysis features, makes it an enabler for the design concept (which in itself is not entirely new).

Prototyping techniques

Wizard of Oz.


Hololens acts as eyes for blind users and guides them with audio prompts.
Liu, Stiles & Meister, preprint: Augmented reality powers a cognitive prosthesis for the blind. (Source of feature image.)