A virtual extension of existing orientation systems for blind people

Blind people, who mainly use a walking cane, rely on tactile paving to receive wayfinding information. For our project, we made use of this system as people are familiar with the interaction and the vibrotactile and auditory feedback of these blocks. However, the physical version
is limited by the lack of area-wide coverage. With the focus on people, who have challenges in adapting to new action processes through current technologies, we wanted to enable the “path of least resistance” for them with this approach.

Similar to the current guidance system, appropriate haptic feedback is provided when a guidance line or attention field is captured. In this case, by setting a destination, the person’s position is compared
with mapped paths and an individual route of virtual tactile pavement is continuously generated.

We apply the simulated feedback at the same place where users feel the physical blocks: At the hand, representing the interface of the person and their aid. The connection is an already trusted
one, so we maintained the cane as the familiar analogue object and conceptualized a flexible cap with vibration motors for the handle, as well as a locator ring for the end of the cane. In this way, the
trusted walking cane is to become an enchanted cane that knows all the paths and guides the people using it.

UniversityHochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences Interactive Media Design
Type of project3rd semester minor project
Maker(s)Marie Backhaus, Kevin Liu, Julia Podlipensky, Afeni Sodatonou

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