Using Sound Feedback to Help Blind People Navigate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


People can generate mental representations of one physical magnitude (e.g., distance) in terms of another (e.g., pitch). Capitalizing on this ability, we developed a system that could help visually impaired people navigate by presenting them with sounds of lower or higher pitch according to their distance from objects that they gaze at. Eight blind-folded participants completed a Hebb-Williams Maze with the system and twelve blind-folded participants completed the maze without it. Both groups completed the maze five times. We found that participants completed the maze faster in the last three trials compared to the first trial. There were no differences between the groups in the pace of improvement and in the time to complete the maze. However, participants who used the system made less errors in the maze than participants who did not use it. Our findings indicate that the system can potentially assist visually impaired people navigate. The contribution of the system to navigation will be further investigated with larger number of participants and with more extensive training.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 36th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, ECCE 2018
ISBN (Electronic)9781450364492
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2018
Event36th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, ECCE 2018 - Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Sep 20187 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference36th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, ECCE 2018


  • Cross-modality matching
  • Hebb-Williams Maze
  • Spatial navigation
  • Visually impaired

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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