Since 2004 I have developed a number of portable navigation aids that communicate with the user through the sense of touch (haptics). My interest in these devices began with relation to improving navigational abilities in visually impaired persons, but later the devices evolved into research tools for the study of embodiment and central parts of immersive installations related to equivalent cultural experience for visually impaired and sighted people. Most recently, I developed an indoor handheld navigation system for the immersive theatre installation Flatland, a collaboration with Extant and the Open University.
I am unable to release details of the haptic device at the moment, but check back soon and I’ll have some more information.I can say however that it was designed as an evolution of the Haptic Lotus (shown above). Tests in my lab at Yale have shown the device to be far superior at guiding people to locations using only their sense of touch.
Here are some previous haptic navigation devices I created for obstacle detection and avoidance.
More details of these devices may be found by clicking on the following links (or emailing me!):
1. The Haptic Torch (2004-2005) – Very Old Website!