Assistive technologies have improved the situation in society for visually impaired individuals.The rapid development the last decades have made both work and education much more accessible. Despite this, moving about independently is still a major challenge, one that at worst can lead to isolation and a decreased quality of life. To aid in the above task, devices exist to help avoid obstacles (notably the white cane), and navigation aids such as accessible GPS devices. The white cane is the quintessential aid and is much appreciated, but solutions trying to convey distance and direction to obstacles further away have not made a big impact among the visually impaired. Onefundamental challenge is how to present such information non-visually. Sounds and synthetic speech are typically utilised, but feedback through the sense of touch (haptics) is also used, often in the form of vibrations. Haptic feedback is appealing because it does not block or distort sounds from the environment that are important for non-visual navigation. Additionally, touch is a natural channel for information about surrounding objects, something the white cane so successfully utilises. This doctoral thesis explores the question above by presenting the development and evaluations of dierent types of haptic navigation aids. The goal has been to attain a simple user experience that mimics that of the white cane. The idea is that a navigation aid able to do this should have a fair chance of being successful on the market. Theevaluations of the developed prototypes have primarily been qualitative, focusing on judging the feasibility of the developed solutions. They have been evaluated at a very early stage, with visually impaired study participants.Results from the evaluations indicate that haptic feedback can lead to solutions that are both easy to understand and use. Since the evaluations were done at an early stage in the development, the participants have also provided valuable feedback regarding design and functionality. They have also noted many scenarios throughout their daily lives where such navigation aids would be of use.The thesis document these results, together with ideas and thoughts that have emerged and been tested during the development process. This information contributes to the body of knowledge on dierent means of conveying information about surrounding objects non-visually.
TEKNIK OCH TEKNOLOGIER -- Elektroteknik och elektronik -- Annan elektroteknik och elektronik (hsv//swe)
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY -- Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering -- Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering (hsv//eng)