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.

Related Articles


"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 Sánchez, 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 March 4, 2015 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 March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Largest Gathering of Games Developers in San Francisco

Largest Gathering of Games Developers in San Francisco

AFP (Mar. 4, 2015) — The 2015 Games Developers Conference, the largest gathering of its kind, brings professionals from all over the world together in San Francisco to reflect on on the art and science of games creation. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'FREAK' Attack Courtesy Of Age-Old Government Policies

'FREAK' Attack Courtesy Of Age-Old Government Policies

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — "FREAK" attack allows hackers to gain access to your encrypted data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps for March Madness

The Best Apps for March Madness

Buzz60 (Mar. 3, 2015) — Before the March Madness tournament tips off, there are a few apps you&apos;ll want on hand. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a roundup of the best apps to help you set brackets and box out the competition with tech! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Will Enter The Wireless Carrier Market

Google Will Enter The Wireless Carrier Market

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai said the company will enter the wireless carrier market to entice carriers to pick up its ideas. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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