BlindAid: Virtual environment system for self-reliant trip planning and orientation and mobility training

David W. Schloerb, Orly Lahav, Joseph G. Desloge, Mandayam A. Srinivasan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


BlindAid is a virtual environment (VE) system that enables blind people to more easily learn about new environments on their own. The system is implemented on a desktop personal computer with a Phantom® haptic interface and three-dimensional spatialized audio. In addition to providing blind users with non-visual stimuli similar to what they will depend on in the actual environment, the system is designed to enhance and accelerate the user's understanding of the unknown environment by giving him/her the ability to interact with the VE in ways that are not possible in the real world. The BlindAid system was developed and evaluated as part of an experimental study related to how people who are blind build cognitive maps of their physical environment and how recent advances in VE technology might support orientation and mobility (O&M) training. The current system is able to provide a visual display and record the user's actions in the VE for later review by researchers and O&M instructors. The paper focuses on the technical development of the system with some results from an initial evaluation by four blind volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2010
Event2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010 - Waltham, MA, United States
Duration: 25 Mar 201026 Mar 2010

Publication series

Name2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010


Conference2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaltham, MA


  • Assistive technology
  • Blind
  • H.5.2 [information interfaces and presentation]: user interfaces - auditory (non-speech) feedback and haptic I/O
  • Haptics
  • Human computer interaction
  • K.3.1 [computers and education]: computer uses in education - computer-assisted instruction
  • K.4.2 [computers and society]: social issues - assistive technologies for persons with disabilities
  • Multimodal interface
  • Orientation and mobility
  • Virtual audio
  • Virtual environments


Dive into the research topics of 'BlindAid: Virtual environment system for self-reliant trip planning and orientation and mobility training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this