Source:IEEE International Workshop on Haptic Audio visual Environments and their Applications (HAVE), Ottawa, Canada (2008)
Good social skills are important and provide for a healthy, successful life; however, individuals with visual impairments are at a disadvantage when interacting with sighted peers due to inaccessible non-verbal cues. This paper presents a haptic (vibrotactile) belt to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired by communicating non-verbal cues during social interactions. We focus on non-verbal communication pertaining to the relative location of the communicators with respect to the user in terms of direction and distance. Results from two experiments show that the haptic belt is effective in using vibration location and duration to communicate the relative direction and distance, respectively, of an individual in the user’s visual field.