VOS is a data conversion system that converts visual information into audio. It was designed to help the visually impaired to navigate physical environments. The system was made freely available, with developments published online from July 2005.
In 2012 I released simulation called ‘Seeker’ as a proof-of-concept. That simulation, along with demonstrations of individual components of the VOS system, were exhibited in the Depot Artspace Gallery in Devonport, Auckland. The installation was called ‘Listen to the View’, and it ran for six months from June 2012.
The advantage of VOS over other navigation aids is that it is able to quickly, clearly and accurately communicate the proximity, size, location and animation of multiple objects in three-dimensional space. Most competing systems do not incorporate this many features, let alone communicate them simultaneously yet distinctly like VOS can.
VOS is able to do what it does by reducing visual information to a code that is communicated through a combination of volume, octave, stereo positioning, timbre and melody. If you learn the code then you can understand what the music is saying about things around you. This is why the art gallery installation was called ‘Listen to the View’.
The system is yet to be mated to a hardware and software package that could convert and communicate visual data in real time. Developments in artificial intelligence bring this possibility ever nearer, but it does not yet seem to be within reach. For now the system can be applied in a limited way to GPS-based map navigation, computer interfaces and simulations.
You can learn more about VOS data conversion by downloading the materials that were featured in the ‘Listen to the View’ installation below.
Listen to the View
Download the descriptive for the Listen to the View art gallery installation.
Download a booklet explaining the VOS System and listen to narrated demonstrations of VOS components.
Download a booklet explaining the Seeker motor racing simulation.
Listen to a tutorial on the Seeker simulation.
Listen to the Seeker simulation.