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Testing a Shape-Changing Haptic Navigation Device With Vision-Impaired and Sighted Audiences in an Immersive Theater Setting

Spiers, Adam J.; van der Linden, Janet; Wiseman, Sarah and Oshodi, Maria (2018). Testing a Shape-Changing Haptic Navigation Device With Vision-Impaired and Sighted Audiences in an Immersive Theater Setting. IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 48(6) pp. 614–625.

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Flatland was an immersive “in-the-wild” experimental theater and technology project, undertaken with the goal of developing systems that could assist “real-world” pedestrian navigation for both vision-impaired (VI) and sighted individuals, while also exploring inclusive and equivalent cultural experiences for VI and sighted audiences. A novel shape-changing handheld haptic navigation device, the “Animotus,” was developed. The device has the ability to modify its form in the user's grasp to communicate heading and proximity to navigational targets. Flatland provided a unique opportunity to comparatively study the use of novel navigation devices with a large group of individuals (79 sighted, 15 VI) who were primarily attending a theater production rather than an experimental study. In this paper, we present our findings on comparing the navigation performance (measured in terms of efficiency, average pace, and time facing targets) and opinions of VI and sighted users of the Animotus as they negotiated the 112 m2 production environment. Differences in navigation performance were nonsignificant across VI and sighted individuals and a similar range of opinions on device function and engagement spanned both groups. We believe more structured device familiarization, particularly for VI users, could improve performance and incorrect technology expectations (such as obstacle avoidance capability), which influenced overall opinion. This paper is intended to aid the development of future inclusive technologies and cultural experiences.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 IEEE
ISSN: 2168-2305
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Flatlands (XC-13-055-JV)7477AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)
Keywords: assistive technology; blindness; haptics technology; human factors and ergonomics; navigation; system design and analysis; user interfaces
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 59024
Depositing User: Janet van der Linden
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2019 09:20
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 13:44
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