Tactile Wayfinder: Comparison of Tactile Waypoint Navigation with Commercial Pedestrian Navigation Systems

  • Martin Pielot
  • Susanne Boll
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6030)


In this paper we report on a field study comparing a commercial pedestrian navigation system to a tactile navigation system called Tactile Wayfinder. Similar to previous approaches the Tactile Wayfinder uses a tactile torso display to present the directions of a route’s waypoints to the user. It advances those approaches by conveying the location of the next two waypoints rather than the next one only, so the user already knows how the route continues when reaching a waypoint. Using a within-subjects design, fourteen participants navigated along two routes in a busy city centre with the Tactile Wayfinder and a commercial pedestrian navigation system. We measured the acquisition of spatial knowledge, the level of attention the participants had to devote to the navigation task, and the navigation performance. We found that the Tactile Wayfinder freed the participants’ attention but could not keep up with the navigation system in terms of navigation performance. No significant difference was found in the acquisition of spatial knowledge. Instead, a good general sense of direction was highly correlated with good spatial knowledge acquisition and a good navigation performance.


Tactile Displays Pedestrian Navigation Wayfinding Tactons 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Pielot
    • 1
  • Susanne Boll
    • 1
  1. 1.OFFIS Institute for Information TechnologyGermany

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