Discipline: Computer Sciences and Information Management
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
HeeSeung Park - The City College of New York
Co-Author(s): Edgardo Molina, City College of New York, New York, NY
Vision is one of the most important sensory perception we possess that allow us to move from point A to point B. Without this fundamental visual sense, one cannot acquire spatial information and conditions of the surrounding which restricts independent traveling of the BVI (Blind/ Visually Impaired). For this reason, without a reliable support from a person or a guide dog who can localize the surroundings, mobility is a challenging task for the BVI. This problem provoked a room for creating an assistive technology that would enable people to interact with the computer system to send and retrieve navigational commands. Many assistive technology for navigation aid uses audio, however, using audio navigation can impede the BVI person’s ability to listen to ambient cues. In addition, traveling in a loud and noisy environment will make direction command difficult to hear, causing communication error.
Therefore, we chose to experiment with the VISTA Wearable haptic device, which uses vibrations to provide the BVI person directional information. To test the effectiveness of haptic feedback as a navigational aide, we decided to develop an Android application to test the VISTA Wearable devices in Wizard of Oz studies. The BVI subjects will wear multiple devices on their body covering left, center, and right for navigation, our app will connect VISTA Wearable devices using Bluetooth and will automatically assign left, center, and right position in the order the devices are turned on. We included buttons and Bluetooth configuration setting in our application user interface for wizard to provide directional commands. Because VISTA Wearable can generate up to 123 vibration effects, the application will allow wizard to choose the vibration effect before a subject testing. We have performed preliminary tests with 6 users, and although the tests accomplished all subjects to travel from beginning to the end in a predesigned course, we learned that the process of navigating one participant to the destination took a long time because all subjects failed to walk in a straight line, causing wizard to constantly readjust the position of the subjects. We are in the planning stages of a larger test with 10 users to fix this trend.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation under Award # EFRI – 1137172, and the 2015 NSF EFRI-REM pilot program at the City College of New York
Faculty Advisor: Edgardo Molina,