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Journal of Interactive Media

Editor-in-Chief: Ziegler, Jürgen

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Volume 13, Issue 3


Using wrist vibrations to guide hand movement and whole body navigation

Dr. Anke Brock / Dr. Slim Kammoun / Dr. Marc Macé / Dr. Christophe Jouffrais
Published Online: 2014-12-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom.2014.0026


In the absence of vision, mobility and orientation are challenging. Audio and tactile feedback can be used to guide visually impaired people. In this paper, we present two complementary studies on the use of vibrational cues for hand guidance during the exploration of itineraries on a map, and whole body-guidance in a virtual environment. Concretely, we designed wearable Arduino bracelets integrating a vibratory motor producing multiple patterns of pulses. In a first study, this bracelet was used for guiding the hand along unknown routes on an interactive tactile map. A wizard-of-Oz study with six blindfolded participants showed that tactons, vibrational patterns, may be more efficient than audio cues for indicating directions. In a second study, this bracelet was used by blindfolded participants to navigate in a virtual environment. The results presented here show that it is possible to significantly decrease travel distance with vibrational cues. To sum up, these preliminary but complementary studies suggest the interest of vibrational feedback in assistive technology for mobility and orientation for blind people.

Keywords: accessibility; visual impairment; tactons; wearables; navigation; interactive maps; virtual environment

About the article

Dr. Anke Brock

Dr. Anke Brock is a research scientist at Inria Bordeaux, France. She obtained a PhD (2013) and Master in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Toulouse, France, and an engineering diploma in Information Technology from Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (Stuttgart, Germany). Her research interests include accessibility for visually impaired people, interactive geographic maps and advanced interaction techniques. Webpage: www.ankebrock.com

Dr. Slim Kammoun

Dr. Slim Kammoun obtained his Phd in computer science from Toulouse University (France) in 2013. Currently he is assistant professor at Tunis University, Tunisia, working in the Research Laboratory for Information and Communication Technologies & Electrical Engineering (LaTICE) at the same university. His main research interests are assistive technology for the Blind with a focus on improving Mobility and Orientation for visually impaired pedestrians.

Dr. Marc Macé

Dr. Marc Macé attended the University of Toulouse where he received a PhD degree in neurosciences in 2006 for his work on visual categorization in primates. After a postdoc in Leuven, Belgium, he joined the CNRS in France and is currently a researcher at the IRIT computer science institute in Toulouse. His main research topic is on assistive technologies for the Blind. Webpage: http://www.irit.fr/~Marc.Mace

Dr. Christophe Jouffrais

Dr. Christophe Jouffrais is with the IRIT Lab (UMR5505, CNRS & Univ of Toulouse) in Toulouse, FR. He is a CNRS researcher with a background in Cognitive Neuroscience and Assistive Technology. He holds a European PhD (2000) in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Lyon, FR and the University of Fribourg, CH. His current research focuses on blind human perception, action and cognition with an emphasis on non-visual human-computer interaction, and Assistive Technologies for the Blind. Webpage: http://www.irit.fr/~Christophe.Jouffrais/;

Published Online: 2014-12-17

Published in Print: 2014-12-01

Citation Information: i-com, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 19–28, ISSN (Online) 2196-6826, ISSN (Print) 1618-162X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom.2014.0026.

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© 2014 Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH, Rosenheimer Str. 145, 81671 München.Get Permission

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