6th Senses for Everyone! The Value of Multimodal Feedback in Handheld Navigation Aids

Pielot, Martin and Poppinga, Benjamin and Heuten, Wilko and Boll, Susanne
One of the bottlenecks in today's pedestrian navigation system is to communicate the navigation instructions in an efficient but non-distracting way. Previous work has suggested tactile feedback as solution, but it is not yet clear how it should be integrated into handheld navigation systems to improve efficiency and reduce distraction. In this paper we investigate augmenting and replacing a state of the art pedestrian navigation system with tactile navigation instructions. In a field study in a lively city centre 21 participants had to reach given destinations by the means of tactile, visual or multimodal navigation instructions. In the tactile and multimodal conditions, the handheld device created vibration patterns indicating the direction of the next waypoint. Like a sixth sense it constantly gave the user an idea of how the route continues. The results provide evidence that combining both modalities leads to more efficient navigation performance while using tactile feedback only reduces the user's distraction.
11 / 2011
Haptic, Audio and Visual Interfaces for Maps and Location Based Services