Source:Multimedia Tools and Applications, Volume 32 (2007)
Haptic systems and devices are a recent addition to multimodal systems. These devices have widespread applications such as surgical simulations, medical and procedural training, scientific visualizations, assistive and rehabilitative devices for individuals who have physical or neurological impediments and assistive devices for individuals who are blind. While the potential of haptics in natural human machine interaction is undisputable, the realization of such means is still a long way ahead. There are considerable research challenges to development of natural haptic interfaces. The study of human tactile abilities is a recent endeavor and many of the available systems still do not incorporate the domain knowledge of psychophysics, biomechanics and neurological elements of haptic perception. Development of smart and effective haptic interfaces and devices requires extensive studies that link perceptual phenomena with measurable parameters and incorporation of such domain knowledge in the engineering of haptic interfaces. This paper presents design, development and usability testing of a neuro-cognitively inspired haptic user interface for individuals who are blind. The proposed system design is inspired by neuro-cognitive basis of haptic perception and incorporates the computational aspects and requirements of multimodal information processing system. Usability testing of the system suggests that a biologically inspired haptic user interfaces may form a powerful paradigm for haptic user interface design.