Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual games help the blind navigate unknown territory

Date:
March 27, 2013
Source:
Journal of Visualized Experiments
Summary:
Scientists have developed a virtual gaming environment to help blind individuals improve navigation skills and develop a cognitive spatial map of unfamiliar buildings and public locations.

Researchers have developed a virtual gaming environment to help blind individuals improve navigation skills and develop a cognitive spatial map of unfamiliar buildings and public locations.
Credit: Image courtesy of Journal of Visualized Experiments

On March 27th JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) will publish a new video article by Dr. Lotfi Merabet showing how researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School have developed a virtual gaming environment to help blind individuals improve navigation skills and develop a cognitive spatial map of unfamiliar buildings and public locations.

"For the blind, finding your way or navigating in a place that is unfamiliar presents a real challenge," Dr. Merabet explains. "As people with sight, we can capture sensory information through our eyes about our surroundings. For the blind that is a real challenge… the blind will typically use auditory and tactile cues."

The technique utilizes computer generated layouts of public buildings and spatial sensory feedback to synthesize a virtual world that mimics a real world navigation task. In the game, participants must find jewels and carry them out of the building, without being intercepted by roaming monsters that steal the jewels and hide them elsewhere.

Participants interface with the virtual building by using a keyboard and wearing headphones that play auditory cues that help spatially orient them to the world around them. This interaction helps users generate an accurate mental layout of the mimicked building. Dr. Merabet and his colleagues are also exploring applications of this technology with other user interfaces, like a Wii Remote or joystick.

"We have developed software called ABES, the Audio Based Environment Simulator that represents the actual physical environment of the Carol Center for the Blind in Newton Massachusetts. The participants will use the game metaphor to get a sense of the whole building through open discovery, allowing people to learn room layouts more naturally than if they were just following directions."

The technology will invariably be useful for the 285 million blind people world-wide, 6 million of which live in the United States. It will also have applications beyond the blind community for individuals with other visual impairments, cognitive deficits, or those recovering from brain injuries.

Dr. Merabet considers publication in JoVE's video format especially helpful. "It is conceptually difficult for a sighted person to understand 'a video game for blind people.' What JoVE allows us to do is break down layouts of the game and strategy, show how the auditory cues can be used and how we quantify performance going from the virtual game to the physical world."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Visualized Experiments. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erin C. Connors, Lindsay A. Yazzolino, Jaime Sαnchez, Lotfi B. Merabet. Development of an Audio-based Virtual Gaming Environment to Assist with Navigation Skills in the Blind. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2013; (73) DOI: 10.3791/50272

Cite This Page:

Journal of Visualized Experiments. "Virtual games help the blind navigate unknown territory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327102648.htm>.
Journal of Visualized Experiments. (2013, March 27). Virtual games help the blind navigate unknown territory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327102648.htm
Journal of Visualized Experiments. "Virtual games help the blind navigate unknown territory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327102648.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Aereo Takes on Broadcast TV Titans in Supreme Court Today

Aereo Takes on Broadcast TV Titans in Supreme Court Today

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — Aereo heads to the Supreme Court today to fight for its right to stream broadcast TV over the Internet -- against broadcasters who say the start-up infringes upon copyright law. TheStreet Deputy Managing Editor Leon Lazaroff explains the importance of the case in the TV industry and details what the outcome of it could mean for broadcasters and for cloud storage services -- as Aereo allows its subscribers to not just watch live TV shows but also store content to a DVR in the cloud. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Netflix To Raise Prices For New Subscribers

Netflix To Raise Prices For New Subscribers

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) — Netflix executives say they don't think a $1 or $2 price hike will hurt the service, and they have their sites set on overtaking HBO. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins