Where is my Team? Supporting Situation Awareness with Tactile Displays

Pielot, Martin and Krull, Oliver and Boll, Susanne
A group of friends visiting a crowded and noisy music festival is an example of a situation where knowing the location of other people is important, but where external factors, such as darkness or noise, can limit the ability to keep track of the others. By combining theories about situation awareness and cognitive processing we inferred that communicating information via the sense of touch is a promising approach in such situations. We therefore investigated how to present the location of several people using a tactile torso display. In particular we focused on encoding spatial distances in the tactile signals. We experimentally compared encoding spatial distances in the rhythm, duration, and intensity of a tactile signal. Our findings show that all parameters are suited to encode distances. None of it was clearly outperformed. We then embedded our tactile location encoding into a fast-paced 3D multiplayer game. In this game, team play and the awareness of the team members' locations are crucial for the success in the game. The results provides evidence that the locations of the team members could be processed effectively despite the game's high cognitive demands. In addition, the team equipped with the tactile display showed a better team play and a higher situation awareness.
04 / 2010
Haptic, Audio and Visual Interfaces for Maps and Location Based Services