Using Virtual Environment to Improve Spatial Perception by People Who Are BlindBy Lahav, Orly; CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 174-177
Publication Date: April 2006
Study conducted as part of a continuous research project to evaluate the use of haptic technologies within virtual environments to improve spatial cognitive mapping for people with visual disabilities. In the first study, a virtual environment was used for orientation and mobility training, as four adults who successfully completed two real-space orientation tasks were asked to participate in the second study. The second study evaluated the participants’ task performance in a real environment so as to determine the long-term effectiveness of the virtual environment. The physical space in the second study included a room that was 54 square meters in size, with three doors, six windows, and two columns. There were seven objects in the room, five of which were attached to the walls, and two were placed in the inner space. Each participant was asked to perform two orientation tasks: (1) a target-object task, in which the participant was asked to find an object within the space, and (2) a perspective-taking task, in which the participant was asked to enter the room from a different entrance and find an object. These tasks were observed and video-recorded, while interviews were conducted to collect the participants’ verbal special descriptions. A comparison of results across the two studies indicated that the time taken to complete tasks, distance walked, and the amount of pauses taken by the participants were roughly the same. This result would indicate that the virtual environment utilized in the earlier study was effective in teaching orientation skills to the participants. Implications for future research are discussed. These studies were conducted by researchers at the Touch Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Published by: Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, Incorporated (Website:http://www.liebertpub.com)