Natural Interactive Walking
Start date: Oct 1, 2008,
End date: Sep 30, 2011
NIW will investigate possibilities for the integrated and interchangeable use of the haptic and auditory modality in floor interfaces, and for the synergy of perception and action in capturing and guiding human walking. Its objective is to provide closed-loop interaction paradigms, negotiated with users and validated through experiments, enabling the transfer of skills that have been previously learned in everyday tasks associated to walking, and where multisensory feedback and sensory substitution can be exploited to create unitary multimodal percepts. NIW will expose walkers to virtual scenes presenting grounds of different natures, populated with natural obstacles and human artefacts, in which to situate the sensing and display of haptic and acoustic information for interactive simulation, and where vision will play an integrative role. Experiments will measure the ecological validity of such scenarios, investigating also on the cognitive aspects of the underlying perceptual processes. Floor based interfaces will be designed and prototyped by making use of existing haptic and acoustic sensing and actuation devices, comprising interactive floor tiles and soles, with special attention to simplicity of technology. Its applicability to navigation aids such as landmarking, guidance to locations of interest, signalling, warning about obstacles and restricted areas, will be assessed. NIW will nurture floor and shoe designs which may impact the way we get information from the environment. FET-Open will further benefit from the discovery of cross-modal psychophysical phenomena, the design of ecologically valid walking interaction paradigms, the modeling of motion analysis and multimodal display synthesis algorithms, the study of non visual floor-based navigation aids, and the development of guidelines for the use of existing sensing and actuation technologies to create virtual walking interaction scenarios.
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