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An Interactive Virtual User Interface for Integrating Blind Persons in Home Environments

[+] Author Affiliations
Maura Mengoni, Lorenzo Cavalieri, Margherita Peruzzini, Damiano Raponi

Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy

Paper No. DETC2015-47132, pp. V01BT02A025; 9 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1B: 35th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5705-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Accessibility to graphical user interfaces by visually impaired persons is generally enabled through systems, which reproduce the lexical structure of the user interface to a non-visual form, mainly employing 3D audio output techniques. Two main critical issues have been identified: (i) most interfaces address the needs and abilities of sighted users and consequently the reproduction is only a translation from one language to another; (ii) blind users are generally not involved in the development stage due to the cost of prototyping. The present work proposes an interactive user interface to control a multi-sensory shower accessible by both sighted and blind users and able to adapt its control knob to reproduce Braille texts. Such function is realized by the integration of an electrotactile feedback device and adopts soft touch finishing to better stimulate touch sensations. Haptic technologies have been exploited to create a virtual high-fidelity prototype to assess individual end-users’ response during the user interface design process. The paper illustrates the designed interface to assist blind users in home environments and the adopted virtual prototyping technique to address the above-mentioned issues.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: User interfaces



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