Analysis of the Use of VR and Haptic Devices in the Teaching-Learning Process for Blind People

Analysis of the Use of VR and Haptic Devices in the Teaching-Learning Process for Blind People

Mitsari Lucio Alonso (Tecnológico Nacional de México IT Aguascalientes, Mexico) and Hugo I. Medellin-Castillo (Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2325-4.ch009

Abstract

The inclusion of people with disabilities in society is an issue that is currently becoming relevant. This is why technology is in a constant struggle to develop tools that meet the needs of this sector of the population and with it fulfill this objective. One of these disabilities is blindness. Therefore, this chapter shows an analysis of the application of virtual reality (VR) and haptic devices as support tools in the teaching-learning of people with such disabilities through the study of various projects that have implement these technologies, obtaining the advantages and disadvantages offered by these resources. For this, an analysis is made from the point of view of accessibility that it presents as well as the approach of the user-centered design (UCD).
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Introduction

Such has been the evolution that technology has experienced over the years that, currently, there are very few areas that are not yet under its influence. However, the goal is always the same: to make life easier for users. And with the passage of time, people who have a disability are given more opportunity, new strategies for accessibility and inclusion in society are sought.

Today, computers, video games, mobile phones and mobile devices instant access to information from around the world. There are a wide variety of options available to make information accessible to people with visual impairments, so many that choosing one can often seem daunting to someone new in the area of ​​accessibility.

It is known that ninety percent of children with blindness or low vision do not go to school, and the unemployment rate among blind or low vision adults ranges between 75 and 90 percent. Experts believe that this situation is due, among other things, to the shortage of teaching equipment (SightFirst, 2010). The visual deficit translates into a reduction in the amount of information that the subject receives from the environment, restricting the number of keys offered by the natural environment and that are of great importance for the construction of the outside world. The specific educational needs presented by blind and low vision students are directly related to the implications that result from visual impairment.

The research on the accessibility of information for people with visual disabilities is wide, however, with the rapid pace that technology changes, it is important for researchers and developers, providing abstract solutions that do not depend on specific technologies, for Accessibility of all the presentation of information can be achieved in the future.

For example, smart glasses use a combination of artificial vision algorithms and cameras to record scenes in front of an individual, and then exaggerate certain details, such as increasing the contrast of the image, highlighting specific features or creating “representations of reality,” depending on the user requirements.

The success of the culture of education lies in the inclusion of both non-blind and blind people. The importance of involving in educational materials aspects that allow blind people to perceive information, which is training and / or education, to the same extent as non-blind people, is equivalent to enabling the level of learning to be equitable.

Currently, traditional teaching and learning methods for blind people people are complex and inefficient because there are elements that require the perception and visualization of objects or images, so the resulting learning is minimal or low.

Multisensory stimulation is particularly useful for a person blind or weak visual because it allows them to raise awareness about the presence of different sensations, acquiring this information way through parts of his body. The development of technologies allowing to generate multisensory stimuli during the process of teaching-learning of blind or weak-sighted people, is therefore of the utmost importance. This involves exposing the student to situations requiring an activity of exploration, search for alternatives various, reflection on forms and conduct of personal and group activities (Medellin & Nieto, 2015). Most modern computer systems is considered the sight as the most important sense. However, the other senses also play an important role when it comes to virtual systems develop the closest to reality, and may even be more important than the view. The haptic system is fundamental in the adaptation of the individual in the world that surrounds him, that through him you get general information about the environment and the possibility to evaluate surfaces, sizes, shapes, textures and qualities of how hard, soft, viscous, consistency perception of temperature and pressure that can exert an object on the skin (Hidalgo & Mendez, 2000).

Touch development represents a complex psychology of development case, since it covers two functions, one driving and the other sensory or haptic. This last function is associated with the deployment of exploratory behaviour and develop perceptual skills related to the recognition of objects (Iñesta, 2002). Sensory perception, is the Foundation of knowledge for persons with low vision, blind or normal, given that all undergo the same process in their development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Immersion: Perception of being physically present in a non-physical world.

Accessibility: Possibility of accessing a certain thing or facility to do so.

Blindness: Disease that causes loss of vision in one or both eyes.

Braille System: It is a method of reading and writing for blind people based on an arrangement of raised dots that the blind person can touch or feel.

Haptics: Comes from the Greek word “haptesthai” which means to touch, or which is related to the sense of touch.

Touch: you can perceive through touch.

Tiflotechnology: A set of theories, knowledge, resources and techniques that enable the practical use of the technological knowledge applied to people who are blind or with low vision.

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