Right or Left: Tactile Display for Route Guidance of Drivers

Amna Asif, Susanne Boll 1  and Wilko Heuten 2
  • 1  University of Oldenburg, Department of Computer Science, Oldenburg, Deutschland
  • 2  OFFIS - Institute for Information Technology, Oldenburg, Deutschland


A tactile interface is an alternative channel of communication, which can be utilized to display navigational instructions in cars under high visual and auditory load conditions. We investigated the use of a tactile belt for turn-by-turn information presentation in cars, which was originally designed for the route guidance of blind and pedestrian users. Important information artifacts in turn-by-turn route guidance are the distance to an upcoming crossing and the direction to follow. The tactile belt was examined in a pilot study for presenting direction information in a car navigation system. The pilot study was used to explore first ideas of tactile encodings for direction presentation with the tactile belt. The study presented in this article compares these designs systematically for their use in tactile route guidance in the car. For this purpose we conducted an experiment with 10 participants on real urban roads to evaluate three different vibrotactile patterns. The results show that the “two vibrators front design” was significantly different than the “two vibrators side design”. The two vibrator front encoding was preferred significantly. The performance of the participants on two vibrators front design was significantly different than the two vibrators side design. The Friedman test showed a significant difference in the usability of all three vibrotactile patterns. A significant difference was found in the ease of use of two vibrators front encoding compared to other encodings. On the basis of quantitative and qualitative results, we conclude that the two vibrators front encoding is comparatively is the better design for presenting the direction information. Our findings will be helpful for the car industry in designing the tactile based car navigation systems.

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it - Information Technology is a strictly peer-reviewed scientific journal. It is the oldest German journal in the field of information technology. Today, the major aim of it - Information Technology is highlighting issues on ongoing newsworthy areas in information technology and informatics and their application. It aims at presenting the topics with a holistic view.