03 Apr Audio-based virtual gaming aims to help the blind navigate
Using only audio-based cues within the context of a video game metaphor, blind users in a study out of Harvard are able to explore a building’s layout.
A video game that uses audio cues and computer-generated building layouts has proven to be better at improving a blind person’s spatial awareness of that place than does actually walking them through it, according to new research out of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
The findings could have implications for how visually impaired people — and possibly those without impairments — best learn to navigate unknown territory.
“It is a tool to build a map of a place you have never been to before,” Lotfi Merabet, the neuroscientist whose team developed the software used in the study (which appears in the Journal of Visualized Experiments), told Reuters. “The video game not only allows you to build a map in your mind, it allows you to interact with it mentally in a way that you wouldn’t be able to if you were taught explicitly by walking through it.”
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