UCL News


UCL researchers develop groundbreaking iPhone application

7 July 2009


Bing Bong lottolab.org/index.asp" target="_self">Dr Beau Lotto
  • Bing Bong on iTunes
  • UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
  • A neuroscience laboratory based within UCL's Institute of Ophthalmology has developed the first audio-based game for the iPhone.

    The Lottolab's 'Bing Bong' game encourages players to use their brains differently by  'hearing' the visual world.

    The aim is to keep a ball from hitting the ground by either catching it or bouncing it on a paddle, but the ball is invisible…players can only hear it.

    Dr Beau Lotto (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) said the idea for Bing Bong stemmed from his laboratory's research into sensory substitution as a means of exploring how the brain makes sense of its surroundings.

    He said: "My research into colour and sound show that even the simplest thing the brain does - seeing colour - is grounded in history, relationships and interaction. We are defined by that ecology. Indeed, the brain is a physical representation of our past interactions.

    "With that as a motivation, the principle point of all my projects (in the lab and studio) is to enable people to 'see themselves see', or to put it differently, to put people in the position of experiencing the process of making sense of the world."

    Dr Lotto said the iPhone had 'tremendous potential' for researchers, and was a natural fit for his laboratory's work: to create spaces and platforms that enable people to experience the world differently.

    The Lottolab is developing two more applications for the iPhone that also explore the translation of light to sound, one in collaboration with the London Sinfonietta.

    Bing Bong can be downloaded from Apple's iTunes store by following the link above.

    Image: right, Bing Bong; left, Lottolab logo.


    UCL context

    Based in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, the Lottolab creates public installations, performances and educational programmes. It conducts carefully controlled studies on human perception, behavioural and cellular investigations on bumblebees and computational and evolutionary modelling of virtual robotics.

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