Development of a Multiple Contact Haptic Display with Texture-Enhanced Graphics by David Burch
This dissertation presents work towards the development of a multiple finger, worn, dynamic display device, which utilizes a method of texture encoded information to haptically render graphical images for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The device interacts directly with the computer screen, using the colors and patterns displayed by the image as a means to encode complex patterns of vibrotactile output, generating the texture feedback to render the image. In turn, the texture feedback was methodically designed to enable parallel processing of certain coarse information, speeding up the exploration of the diagram and improving user performance. The design choices were validated when individuals who are blind or visually impaired, using the multi-fingered display system, performed three-times better using textured image representations versus outline representations. Furthermore, in an open-ended object identification task, the display device saw on average two-times better performance accuracy than that previously observed for raised-line diagrams, the current standard for tactile diagrams.