Audio Tactile Maps (ATM) System for the Exploration of Digital Heritage Buildings by Visually-impaired Individuals - First Prototype and Preliminary Evaluation
Navigation within historic spaces requires analysis of a variety of acoustic, proprioceptive and tactile cues; a task that is well-developed in many visually-impaired individuals but for which sighted individuals rely almost entirely on vision. For the visually-impaired, the creation of a cognitive map of a space can be a long process for which the individual may repeat various paths numerous times. While this action is typically performed by the individual on-site, it is of some interest to investigate to what degree this task can be performed off-site using a virtual simulator. We propose a tactile map navigation system with interactive auditory display. The system is based on a paper tactile map upon which the user’s hands are tracked. Audio feedback provides; (i) information on user-selected map features, (ii) dynamic navigation information as the hand is moved, (iii) guidance on how to reach the location of one hand (arrival point) from the location of the other hand (departure point) and (iv) additional interactive 3D-audio cues useful for navigation. This paper presents an overview of the initial technical development stage, reporting observations from preliminary evaluations with a blind individual. The system will be beneficial to visually impaired visitors to heritage sites; we describe one such site which is being used to further assess our prototype.
P.I. Dr. Lorenzo Piccinali, Faculty of Technology, DMU
Citation : O'Sullivan, L., Picinali, L., Feakes, C. and Cawthorne, D. (2014) Audio Tactile Maps (ATM) System for the Exploration of Digital Heritage Buildings by Visually-impaired Individuals - First Prototype and Preliminary Evaluation. Forum Acousticum. Krakow, Poland: European Acoustics Association.
ISSN : 2221-3767
Research Group : Digital Building Heritage Group
Peer Reviewed : Yes