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Tactile Working-Memory Performance of the Blind

Paul, K.I. (2016) Tactile Working-Memory Performance of the Blind. Master's Thesis / Essay, Human-Machine Communication.

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Abstract

Vibro-tactile electronic travel aids (ETAs) are devices that support independent travel of the blind by indicating obstacles via vibrations. However, it is unclear how much vibro-tactile information can be processed by the user. Furthermore, little is known about the effect of multi-tasking or noise on the ability to process vibro-tactile information. The present study examined these issues using a continuous report paradigm under four conditions: NoWalking/NoNoise, Walking/NoNoise, NoWalking/Noise and Walking/Noise. Noise indicates the presence of ecologically valid sound and Walking indicates that participants were walking, while using their cane. Forty sequences consisting of one to five vibro-tactile items were relayed to the skin of the abdomen of blind participants. After each sequence, participants had to report the presented vibro-tactile items. It was found that memory accuracy decreased as sequence length increased. In condition NoWalking/NoNoise, memory accuracy significantly decreased after two items, though performance for four items was still about 80%. Yet, if noise or walking was added, accuracy for four items decreased significantly. Interestingly, in condition Walking/Noise recall accuracy was already impaired for one vibro-tactile item. The results of the present study draw attention to the fact that ETA designers should take the context of use into account to enhance safety.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Human-Machine Communication
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:11
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:11
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/13738

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