New Technology to Assist Blind Individuals Experience the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Through Hearing and Touch

Experiencing the Total Solar Eclipse: A Unique Opportunity for Everyone

On Monday, 8 April, celestial enthusiasts across North America will have the chance to witness a magnificent total solar eclipse. This celestial event is expected to be even more breathtaking than the last one that occurred seven years ago.

For those in the right place, viewers will be able to experience the eclipse’s maximum phase, where light from the Sun is completely blotted out except for that of the corona, for nearly four and a half minutes. However, those who are blind or visually impaired will also have an opportunity to experience this celestial event with the help of a revolutionary device called LightSound.

The LightSound device was designed and developed in 2017 through a collaboration between Harvard astronomer Allyson Bieryla and Wanda Díaz-Merced, an astronomer who is blind. This innovative device uses sound to allow individuals to experience the eclipse through audio cues. The sensor on the LightSound device emits high-pitch musical tones under normal light, which gradually drop as the Moon blocks the Sun’s light.

The LightSound Project is completely open source and provides downloadable DIY instructions in English, Spanish, and French on how to build your own device. The project had a goal of building over 750 devices in conjunction with other institutions in time for the April 2024 total solar eclipse. Several listening events are planned for Monday, 8 April, from Colombia to Canada, providing an opportunity for people to experience the eclipse together.

Overall, this total solar eclipse presents an exciting opportunity for people across North America to witness a spectacular celestial event. Whether viewing it in person or experiencing it through innovative technology like LightSound, this event is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who witness it.

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