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Effects of Using Vibrotactile Feedback on Sound Localization by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Virtual Environments

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  • Mohammadreza Mirzaei, Institute of Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology, TU Wien, Østrig
  • Peter Kán, Institute of Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology, TU Wien
  • ,
  • Hannes Kaufmann, Institute of Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology, TU Wien, Østrig
Sound source localization is important for spatial awareness and immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences. Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) persons have limitations in completing sound-related VR tasks efficiently because they perceive audio information differently. This paper presents and evaluates a special haptic VR suit that helps DHH persons efficiently complete sound-related VR tasks. Our proposed VR suit receives sound information from the VR environment wirelessly and indicates the direction of the sound source to the DHH user by using vibrotactile feedback. Our study suggests that using different setups of the VR suit can significantly improve VR task completion times compared to not using a VR suit. Additionally, the results of mounting haptic devices on different positions of users’ bodies indicate that DHH users can complete a VR task significantly faster when two vibro-motors are mounted on their arms and ears compared to their thighs. Our quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrates that DHH persons prefer using the system without the VR suit and prefer mounting vibro-motors in their ears. In an additional study, we did not find a significant difference in task completion time when using four vibro-motors with the VR suit compared to using only two vibro-motors in users’ ears without the VR suit.
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2021

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