We discuss how sensory substitution devices (SSDs) can be used to study the organization of the brain. To do so we look at the use of SSDs in the blind and how SSDs can be used to identify sensory-dependent and sensory-independent brain function. Cross-modal interactions may represent new patterns of connectivity or the unmasking of pre-existing associations. We show how the blind brain can be a window into cross-modal plasticity and can dissociate intrinsic and experience-dependent brain functions. We argue that the brain is a sensory-independent task machine and explain the implications for the rehabilitation of blind people.
Sarah F. Hillenbrand, D. Raveh, A. Amedi
Sensory Substitution and Augmentation