Constructing tactile languages for situational awareness assistance of visually impaired people
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This paper reports on the findings from an experiment on human performance in tactile language learning and tactile memory . A set of four vibrotactile patterns representing verbal words was presented to a group of 20 voluntary subjects. Upon learning, subjects were capable of recognizing the patterns with high accuracy. Patterns were then combined with the aim of constructing sentences that gradually represent more complex ideas. Recognition rates remained satisfactory for sentences involving two, three, and four tactile words . A novel approach of tactile stimuli was explored: podotactile stimulation. For this study, a prototype of wearable electronic tactile display that stimulates the foot sole with vibrations was used. Results obtained suggest that it is possible to construct tactile languages that could enhance situational awareness feedback provided by assistive devices.