Methods for Presenting Braille Characters on a Mobile Device with a Touchscreen and Tactile Feedback

Three novel interaction methods were designed for reading six-dot Braille characters from the touchscreen of a mobile device. A prototype device with a piezoelectric actuator embedded under the touchscreen was used to create tactile feedback. The three interaction methods, scan, sweep, and rhythm, enabled users to read Braille characters one at a time either by exploring the characters dot by dot or by sensing a rhythmic pattern presented on the screen. The methods were tested with five blind Braille readers as a proof of concept. The results of the first experiment showed that all three methods can be used to convey information as the participants could accurately (91-97 percent) recognize individual characters. In the second experiment the presentation rate of the most efficient and preferred method, the rhythm, was varied. A mean recognition accuracy of 70 percent was found when the speed of presenting a single character was nearly doubled from the first experiment. The results showed that temporal tactile feedback and Braille coding can be used to transmit single-character information while further studies are still needed to evaluate the presentation of serial information, i.e., multiple Braille characters.
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