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Waypoint navigation with a vibrotactile waist belt

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Author: Erp, J.B.F. van · Veen, H.A.H.C. van · Jansen, C. · Dobbins, T.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:ACM Transactions on applied perceptions, 2, 2, 106 - 117
Identifier: 15982
Keywords: Health · Tactile displays · Vehicle control · Performance · Handicapped · Navigation · User interfaces · Man-machine interaction


Presenting waypoint navigation on a visual display is not suited for all situations. The present experiments investigate if it is feasible to present the navigation information on a tactile display. Important design issue of the display is how direction and distance information must be coded. Important usability issues are the resolution of the display and its usefulness in vibrating environments. In a pilot study with 12 pedestrians, different distance-coding schemes were compared. The schemes translated distance to vibration rhythm while the direction was translated into vibration location. The display consisted of eight tactors around the user’s waist. The results show that mapping waypoint direction on the location of vibration is an effective coding scheme that requires no training, but that coding for distance does not improve performance compared to a control condition with no distance information. In Experiment 2, the usefulness of the tactile display was shown in two case studies with a helicopter and a fast boat.