Exploration in 3D Virtual Worlds with Haptic-Audio Support for Nonvisual Spatial Recognition

Abstract : Mobility indoors or outdoors is a problem for visually impaired people because of lacking the visual channel. Appropriate learning tools about spatial information could be used as a preparation for navigation before going to the real place. Current accessibility technologies, such as screen readers, do not well convey spatial layout or structure. In this paper, an experimental study on accessing non-visual spatial information and on support for efficient navigation and orientation with haptic and audio cues is presented. A 3D virtual simulation prototype of a real world environment was created for this purpose. Different navigation tools were designed in the prototype with haptic and audio cues. The main results of the study reported are: (a) the development of a virtual 3D environment helping visually impaired users to learn about real space where they are required to navigate (e.g. in schools, work places, public buildings), (b) whether the spatial information for establishing the mental mapping of the space could be acquired by using compensatory sensorial channels (e.g., touch and hearing), as an alternative to the visual channel; (c) how haptic and audio cues can enable the efficient navigation, mobility and orientation in such 3D virtual environments. Results from qualitative analysis regarding learning process and actual performance in the 3D virtual world are presented.
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Ying Ying Huang. Exploration in 3D Virtual Worlds with Haptic-Audio Support for Nonvisual Spatial Recognition. Second IFIP TC 13 Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction (HCIS)/ Held as Part of World Computer Congress (WCC), Sep 2010, Brisbane, Australia. pp.269-272, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-15231-3_27⟩. ⟨hal-01061034⟩

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