Exploration of Unknown Spaces by People Who are Blind Using a Multi-Sensory Virtual Environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exploration of unknown spaces is essential for the development of efficient orientation and mobility skills. Most of the information required for the exploration is gathered through the visual channel. People who are blind lack this crucial information, facing in consequence difficulties in mapping as well as navigating spaces. This study is based on the assumption that the supply of appropriate spatial information through compensatory sensorial channels may contribute to the spatial performance of people who are blind. The main goals of this study were (a) the development of a haptic virtual environment enabling people who are blind to explore unknown spaces and (b) the study of the exploration process of these spaces by people who are blind. Participants were 31 people who are blind: 21 in the experimental group exploring a new space using a multi-sensory virtual environment, and 10 in the control group directly exploring the real new space. The results of the study showed that the participants in the experimental group mastered the navigation of the unknown virtual space in a short time. Significant differences were found concerning the use of exploration strategies, methods, and processes by participants working with the multi-sensory virtual environment, in comparison with those working in the real space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Special Education Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploration of Unknown Spaces by People Who are Blind Using a Multi-Sensory Virtual Environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this