You can’t see the total solar eclipse, but LightSound helps you hear it

On August 21, 2017, Kiki Smith’s teenage sons excitedly prepared to watch the partial solar eclipse in Rochester, New York. As Ms. Smith listened to their chatter, she felt left out.

“I felt very alone,” she said. Ms Smith was diagnosed with a degenerative disease as a child and lost the last of her vision in 2011. The local excitement surrounding the eclipse and national media attention unexpectedly touched a nerve.

The eclipse “was about experiencing a historic moment in the community, and I was not part of it,” she said.

Ms. Smith, 52, who works for a community development organization in Rochester, was determined to do something different in light of the April 8 total solar eclipse that passed through her city. She is helping to organize a public meeting that prioritizes accessibility for people with vision loss. Their event will use specially designed devices called LightSound, which convert changing light intensities into musical tones, allowing blind and visually impaired people to listen as the sky goes dark and then brightens again.

During this eclipse, Ms. Smith said, “I will be in the community. And I’ll have all these amazing resources at my fingertips to experience what I missed last time.”

People in the United States with limited vision or blindness will experience the eclipse with the help of about 900 LightSound devices distributed by a team led by Allyson Bieryla, a Harvard University astronomer.

The instrument was developed in 2017 by Ms. Bieryla, the head of Harvard’s astronomy laboratory and student telescopes, and Wanda Díaz Merced, a blind astronomer who was working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at the time.

After learning about the needs of visually impaired astronomers, Ms. Bieryla equipped the lab she runs with a printer that creates three-dimensional, tactile representations on heat-sensitive paper of images captured by telescopes. Dr. Díaz Merced has been conducting research for more than a decade…

Read Complete News ➤

Benefits of eating guava for Americans