University of Oulu

Chaudary, B., Pohjolainen, S., Aziz, S. et al. Teleguidance-based remote navigation assistance for visually impaired and blind people—usability and user experience. Virtual Reality (2021).

Teleguidance-based remote navigation assistance for visually impaired and blind people : usability and user experience

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Author: Chaudary, Babar1; Pohjolainen, Sami1; Aziz, Saima2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, OASIS Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
3Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, INTERACT Research Unit, INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-17


This paper reports the development of a specialized teleguidance-based navigation assistance system for the blind and the visually impaired. We present findings from a usability and user experience study conducted with 11 blind and visually impaired participants and a sighted caretaker. Participants sent live video feed of their field of view to the remote caretaker’s terminal from a smartphone camera attached to their chest. The caretaker used this video feed to guide them through indoor and outdoor navigation scenarios using a combination of haptic and voice-based communication. Haptic feedback was provided through vibrating actuators installed in the grip of a Smart Cane. Two haptic methods for directional guidance were tested: (1) two vibrating actuators to guide left and right movement and (2) a single vibrating actuator with differentiating vibration patterns for the same purpose. Users feedback was collected using a meCUE 2.0 standardized questionnaire, interviews, and group discussions. Participants’ perceptions toward the proposed navigation assistance system were positive. Blind participants preferred vibrational guidance with two actuators, while partially blind participants preferred the single actuator method. Familiarity with cane use and age were important factors in the choice of haptic methods by both blind and partially blind users. It was found that smartphone camera provided sufficient field of view for remote assistance; position and angle are nonetheless important considerations. Ultimately, more research is needed to confirm our preliminary findings. We also present an expanded evaluation model developed to carry out further research on assistive systems.

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Series: Virtual reality
ISSN: 1359-4338
ISSN-E: 1434-9957
ISSN-L: 1359-4338
Issue: Epub ahead of print
DOI: 10.1007/s10055-021-00536-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. This work was supported by the Scholarship Fund of the University of Oulu. A UniOGS Travel grant was awarded for the first author’s PhD studies.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit