A Prototype Audio-Tactile Map System with an Advanced Auditory Display




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IGI Global



Peer reviewed



Tactile surfaces can display information in a variety of applications for all users, but can be of particular benefit to blind and visually impaired individuals. One example is the use of paper-based tactile maps as navigational aids for interior and exterior spaces; visually impaired individuals may use these to practice and learn a route prior to journeying. The addition of an interactive auditory display can enhance such interfaces by providing additional information. This article presents a prototype system which tracks the actions of a user's hands over a tactile surface and responds with sonic feedback. The initial application is an Audio-Tactile Map (ATM); the auditory display provides verbalised information as well as environmental sounds useful for navigation. Two versions of the interface are presented; a desktop version intended as a large-format information point and a mobile version which uses a tablet computer overlain with tactile paper. Details of these implementations are provided, including observations drawn from the participation of a partially-sighted individual in the design process. A usability test with five visually impaired subjects also gives a favourable assessment of the mobile version.


Departments and organaitaions involved in the research are noted below; School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland (O'Sullivan) Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College, London, UK (Picinali) Faculty of Technology, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (Gerino) Digital Building Heritage Group, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (Cawthorne)


Audio-Tactile Map, Auditory Display, Binaural, Psychoacoustics, Tactile Interface, Heritage Interpretation, Museum


O'Sullivan, L. Picinali, L., Gerino, A. and Cawthorne, D. (2015) A Prototype Audio-Tactile Map System with an Advanced Auditory Display. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction (IJMHCI), 7 (4), pp. 53-75


Research Institute