Free «Haptic Technology to Assist a Virtually Impaired Person» Essay Sample

Haptic Technology to Assist a Virtually Impaired Person

According tobusinessdictionary, a disabled person is a person with medically ascertainable impairments, or with significant loss of functional ability to carry on with normal oreverydayactivities.Disability is usually measured by thedegreeto which the disabled person is unable to engage in gainful economic activity on a regular basis.According to ADA, Americans with disability act, disabilityis definedas a mental or physicalsymptomof reduced quality orstrengththat significantly limits one or asetofregularlife activities. It also states clearly that avitallifeactivityas one that a normal average person can perform with minimal or no difficulties like seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, or sleeping.

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Visual impairment is one of the common disabilities in the whole world today. According to American Foundation for the Blind, itis estimatedthat ten million people in the United States are visually impaired.It refers to any kind of vision loss; this includes full blindness or limited vision loss.When a parts of theeyeorbraininvolved in the processing of images become infected by adiseaseor physically damaged or destroyed, full or partial loss of vision can occur. In such cases, vision cannot be restored with medical treatment, corrective lenses like glasses or contacts or even surgery. Some people areblindwhile others havelegalblindness, i.e. they have not lost theirsightcompletelybut, they cannot see objects 200 feet away as a normal person wouldseeit, unless they are 20 feet from the object.

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In several cases, people with disabilitiesare neglectedand left out in economic activities. Several studies have shown that if well equipped with necessary-aid tools, persons with disabilities have fared almost equally with normal persons. Haptic technology can be ofenormoushelp in designingaidtools for persons with disabilities.

Hapticsis definedas the science of touch. It lets computer users interact with virtual worlds by the sense oftouchor feel. Scientists use computers to simulate the effect of a golf club hitting the ball in sports also the springiness of a kidney under forceps in biology, in science.

A tool that enables computer users toperceiveand control the objects displayed on their screens as demonstrated by a student, François Conti.Inside the Lab of Kenneth Salisbury, a professor of computer science and surgery. Communication is an essential tool to any living being amid any form of impairment. It should be taken into serious consideration when designing any tool to improve the quality of life of the visually impaired persons.Communication is easy to learn provided aspecificandappropriatemethod for a particular user this also applies to the blind and visually impaired.Designing with haptictechnology andmodeof technology can be effectively used tocomeup with adesignto helpaidsuch people in planning and navigating ajourneyon their own.Different circumstances of the user’s perception, ability, location and experience influence thedevice’s design.

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Ourperceptual experience of the world around us emerges as a combination of related inputs from one or two of our senses. Vision and audition sensory modalitieshave been researchedin details. Touch has been somehow ignored for way too long until the last decade.To successfullyexploreanobjecthaptically, the sense oftouchyields significant information regarding thesubmission, texture,shapeandheatconductivity askeyqualities of an object.

Touchingprocesscan also be thought of With regard tosoundor theear. Itis supportedby visual stimulus pertaining the objects outward structure and surface properties. This has resulted to researchers hypothesizingtouchas more of a reality sense than the rest of human senses (Taylor, Lederman & Gibson, 1973).In the real sense, it is likely that thetouchsensationscombinewithseveralother senses to give rise to thisimpressionof "reality".The perception of something touched being somehow more real may alsobeas a result of the historicsenseof illusions that somehow appealed to the sense of touch in the past.When a human subject tries todeterminehis current position with respect to the prominent points, hisentirebodyis consideredto be a physical object of the entire environment. This spatialknowledgerequires thecapacityof usingoursensory system in theenvironmentto refer to it.Precisely, during navigation, i.e. a displacement of the whole body, the subject need to have knowledge of the position of the starting or referencepointalso thefinalpoints and toupdatethe current position.Vision is paramount involved in this process, identifying the common landmarks remains amainchallenge for blind people during navigation.

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In this respect, virtual reality constitutesvaluabletools thatpresentto the blind, or visually impaired people with arealisticand visceral interface devoted to the development of spacial knowledge. Particularly, they can make appropriate use of hapticmaps when coming up with the cartographic information when using a computer controlled, motorized device held by the hand. Such adeviceproduces aforceas the feed back when the user touches a virtual object. Rice, Jacobson, Jones and Golledge (2005), suggested that, in some circumstances, hapticcan also be areplacementfor other sensory system like vision. Jansson and Pederson (2005) endeavored to enable blind people totouchandfeelvirtualgeographical environments with a haptic mouse coupled with a Phantom Omni device, but the gains of these new devices do notbringsignificant improvement. Later Jacobson et al. (2005) used force-feedback mouse and auditory pronouns togivea varying modal interface that allows morecomprehensivefeedback.

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The main objective is to come up with a haptictooldesign that will improve the ability of a visually impaired person to access geographical information. This tool willenablethepersonto navigate via a haptic device andviaa tactile map.

In Prototype development, the procedures used by the brain toperformintuitive tasks like todecodethe data stored in maps are exceedingly complex and difficult to imitate using computers.Since mapsare perceivedusing visual modality, it is extremely difficult for the visually impaired persons to use them.The design solution of a map, which can be used by visually impaired should contain the following features; an audio-to-text plug-in, tablet-PC input, and disabling/deactivating screen.The audio-to-text plug-in receives an audiocommandgiven by the user, and registers it as text in the appropriate text field and thisis usedtorecordthe travelling points.The tabletis connectedwireless tofacilitatehaptic computer interaction. The screen should be disabled so that the user does notencounteranynavigationerror.

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Magnetic clay tablet is usedto create a digitalimpressionboardthattakethe appearance of a tablet andis usedto communicate with the user’s computer and imprints images onto the board.The concept used here is manipulating the magnetic field with the use of electromagnetic forces (Takeno, 1999). Thistabletis usedtoenablethe following functionalities; imprint of map route-This feature ensures that therouteyouhave chosen can be interacted with and explored upon. It also helps the user to figure out andformanimageof what the route looks like before starting the journey. (ii).Customizable button initiators- thesebuttoninitiators can be used by the user togivehis feedback to the computer.

Haptic pen is usedtohandlethe following functionalities; Automated nib-changer- this allows user to feel the texture of the selected route. Thumb pressbutton- if avoiceis createdby the user and it not meant to respond to the system, thumb press button identifies it. Finger-tipgrip- using vibrations and pulses the finger tipgripwhich is able to provide haptic feedback toindicatedifferent messages. In built microphone- voice commands from the thumb-press userare receivedby the in built microphone for transcription.

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The execution stage will include a Ultracane this is usedfor objectdetectionand giving feedback to the user. When using the cane, the following additional functions should be made; probe texture detection, GPS track automation, checks on Security and retract ability. Thecaneshould be modified to allow the user to stop whenever there is anobstacleanddirecthim/her to the correctrouteif he goes astray.

To implement the plan, existing devices can be used to implement thedesignconcept instead of coming up with new designs.Some devices mayneedmodificationso that they canmeetyour functionalitye.g. the cane has to be modified in order to meet functions werequirefrom it.

Basic System Components include, hardware Device Specification Function, aplanningPC connected to the internet, haptic pen, magnetic clay tablet, Ultracanefor navigating the streets, Software Device Specification Function, Planning browser, command prompt, Software fortabletto PC connection interaction

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Haptic navigation isverypowerfuland has a lot of potentials both in virtual environments and the real-world situations. There are many benefits it offers for the visually impaired one of them being the ability tonavigatemaps in a computer. More research should be done in order to develop arealdesign concept.

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