Universities, Research Center, No-profit Organization, Public opinion.


  • Find a new understanding of the complex challenge of enabling visually impaired people in getting and achieving a better autonomous life via a multidisciplinary approach.

Project details


Opened in Boston in 1861 by the geologist William Barton Rogers who was its first rector, MIT, at first dedicated to applied industrial research, has grown into 5 schools and 32 departments administering undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
The school of science includes degree courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, earth sciences, meteorology and astronomy.
MIT is one of the leading research universities in the world. Among the facilities available, there are five high-energy accelerators, a nuclear reactor and more than 70 interdisciplinary programs and laboratories, including the Centre for Cancer Research, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Centre for International Studies, Media Laboratory (known as Media Lab), Research Laboratory of Electronics, Centre for Cognitive Science and International Financial Services Research Centre.

MIT has some of the most cutting-edge technological complexes in the world, including a laboratory for artificial intelligence and a OpenPGP keyserver.

Other University involved: University of Pisa, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and University of Florence


“How neuroscientists and computer scientists seek to understand the functional uses of vision and develop innovative technologies enabling visually impaired people to increase their independence and social inclusion.’’

This workshop has been included in the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in United States: Italian and American scientists have been invited to participate to this multidisciplinary group of excellence in order to exchange their achievements and lay new bridges among the two cultures.
The objective of the workshop is setting up a dialogue among scientists adopting different solutions and approaches to the important research question: how are neuroscientists and computer scientists working to understand the functional uses of vision and develop innovative technologies enabling visually impaired people to increase their independence and social inclusion?

This problem needs to be reformulated beyond the classical boundaries of each involved discipline in order to achieve innovative solutions based on a new understanding of such a complex issue.

The 2nd ABF CHALLENGES Workshop will put together multi-disciplinary scientists that are the excellence in their fields to let them share results and ideas and find together such new understanding.

In order to achieve a better autonomous life as well as to increase the independence and the social inclusion for a blind person, different approaches have been tackled.

At the workshop, each scientist will give a short lecture on his/her solution and point of view; then, during a final panel section, they will discuss together how to get a unique multidisciplinary new understanding.

At the workshop, several studies will be presented concerning: the neurological aspects of vision; retinal prosthesis; the design of assistive technologies helping blind people in the autonomous navigation and orientation, either outdoors or indoors, avoiding obstacles; spotting texts; assistive technologies to efficiently socialize and recognize faces and people expressions; games and tools helping blind children. Furthermore answers to the question of what is vision without sight and what is vision in terms of perceptual and cognitive functioning for the blinds will be discussed.
All the scientists are approaching the problem from their own perspective, but they are all answering the same question:

Is it possible for visually impaired people, thanks to technology and science, to live an autonomous life, be independent, work and socialize


The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the intention of opening dialogue and sharing the results of their work have co-organized a 1-day workshop in which names of international excellence in the fields of scientific and technological research.

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