Oldenburg Computer Science Series

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Boll,
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Lehnhoff (Hrsg.)

Martin Pielot

Conveying Spatial Information for Navigation and Orientation with Tactile Displays

Location-based services, such as interactive maps or navigation systems, enable phone users to access spatial information far beyond what our senses are able to obtain. However, for pedestrians interacting with location-based services usually involves handheld devices that can be used outside and on the move. First, concentrating on the screen of a handheld device may distract users from the environment. Second, spatial information is typically provided in an abstract form, which may be difficult to apply efficiently. Third, situation induced impairments may prevent users from perceiving the presented information in the first place.

Models of processing sensory information predict that conveying information via the sense of touch is a promising approach to addressing these three issues. Therefore, this thesis investigates the tactile presentation of spatial information. It introduces and explores the concept of Spatial Tactons, which means to encode the direction and distance of spatial entities (e.g. landmarks, people) in vibro-tactile stimuli.

Reporting from six experiments, the thesis argues that Spatial Tactons are suitable to overcome the above challenges. It shows that if Spatial Tactons replace traditional visual user interfaces of navigation systems, they can diminish the user's distraction. Further, it shows that it is possible to enhance the efficiency of interpreting map-based spatial information by creating an additional sense of direction with Spatial Tactons. Finally, it provides evidence that the perception of Spatial Tactons is sufficiently reliable for them to be applied in distracting and cognitively challenging situations.

Bd. 24, XII, 164 S., Edewecht 2013, € 49,80
ISBN-13 978-3-939704-95-9