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Article

Effects of Using Vibrotactile Feedback on Sound Localization by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Virtual Environments

1
Institute of Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology, Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), 1040 Wien, Austria
2
Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University, 8200 Aarhus, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jorge C. S. Cardoso
Electronics 2021, 10(22), 2794; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222794
Received: 17 October 2021 / Revised: 9 November 2021 / Accepted: 11 November 2021 / Published: 15 November 2021
Sound source localization is important for spatial awareness and immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences. Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) persons have limitations in completing sound-related VR tasks efficiently because they perceive audio information differently. This paper presents and evaluates a special haptic VR suit that helps DHH persons efficiently complete sound-related VR tasks. Our proposed VR suit receives sound information from the VR environment wirelessly and indicates the direction of the sound source to the DHH user by using vibrotactile feedback. Our study suggests that using different setups of the VR suit can significantly improve VR task completion times compared to not using a VR suit. Additionally, the results of mounting haptic devices on different positions of users’ bodies indicate that DHH users can complete a VR task significantly faster when two vibro-motors are mounted on their arms and ears compared to their thighs. Our quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrates that DHH persons prefer using the system without the VR suit and prefer mounting vibro-motors in their ears. In an additional study, we did not find a significant difference in task completion time when using four vibro-motors with the VR suit compared to using only two vibro-motors in users’ ears without the VR suit. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual reality; haptic feedback; tactile sensation; sound source localization; deaf and hard-of-hearing virtual reality; haptic feedback; tactile sensation; sound source localization; deaf and hard-of-hearing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mirzaei, M.; Kán, P.; Kaufmann, H. Effects of Using Vibrotactile Feedback on Sound Localization by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Virtual Environments. Electronics 2021, 10, 2794. https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222794

AMA Style

Mirzaei M, Kán P, Kaufmann H. Effects of Using Vibrotactile Feedback on Sound Localization by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Virtual Environments. Electronics. 2021; 10(22):2794. https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222794

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mirzaei, Mohammadreza, Peter Kán, and Hannes Kaufmann. 2021. "Effects of Using Vibrotactile Feedback on Sound Localization by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Virtual Environments" Electronics 10, no. 22: 2794. https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222794

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