Distance Perception Study

Last Updated on: 27th February 2014, 02:03 pm

I just thought I’d link to a cool study being done so that perhaps it would help get more participants. Martin Talbot is a PHD student in human computer interactions at the University of Waterloo. He’s trying to design a navigation system for blind people. But unlike the makers of the Swan and the Mygo, he wants to involve blind people in its development from the ground up. He cares about aesthetics and other practical concerns, and he wants to know what is important to us. I think that’s awesome, and I hope that he gets lots of diverse participants. At least he realizes that all blind people are different, and just because one says it rocks doesn’t mean the next one will agree. I’ve met this guy, and he is a breath of fresh air with a mind that is constantly working, trying to think of better ways to do things. Here is a short snippet about his study.

Hello, my name is Martin Talbot. I am asking you to volunteer in a study that is part of my PhD research in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Waterloo.

In this study, I examine an important theory in distance  perception. The theory has never been tested with sounds and persons who are blind before. This study tries to find out if the theory works for you and to learn if you like how the interaction “feels”.

As you probably know, the vast majority of technologies available for blind people are developed without involving blind participants in the design process. It is typical to have the products designed by sighted people and then tested on blind subjects. This study aims to involve blind persons in the design decisions right from the beginning. The 
study’s objective is the design of an effective, efficient, learnable, and memorable interactive model to enhance spatial orientation in blind persons.

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire about your vision condition. I will be happy to help you. The questionnaire is available online, so you can read the questions beforehand. All your answers will be anonymous.

All the details about the study, including the task, remuneration, risks, and more, are revealed in the official invitation letter available online at the following address:

The questionnaire’s questions are available online at the following address:

This study was reviewed and received ethics clearance through the 
Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo.

Thanks for your interest in this research.

Martin Talbot

So there’s my small way of helping out. He’s looking for participants in the Waterloo region, but maybe in the future, he may turn up elsewhere. Who knows. I hope he gets a lot of useful input.

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