Evaluating Tactile-Acoustic Devices for Enhanced Driver Awareness and Safety: An Exploration of Tactile Perception and Response Time to Emergency Vehicle Sirens

  • Maria Karam
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8515)


A feasibility study was conducted to determine if real-time emergency vehicle sirens can be detected when presented to a driver using a tactile display device. Public usability methods were employed to evaluate the tactile-perceptibility of siren sounds when a driver’s hearing ability is impaired, due to temporary deafness that is induced when listening to loud music, road noise, or by active noise cancelling systems installed in automobiles. The study evaluates siren detection rates and response times of drivers who are artificially deafened by loud music using tactile-only stimuli as an alert system. Results of the study suggest that the use of an ambient tactile display can provide persistent access to siren sounds for drivers who are deafened in both low and high stress conditions. Details of the experiments are presented, along with a discussion on next steps, which includes recommendations for integrating the tactile displays into driving simulators as an alternative form to haptic displays that can improve driver awareness of and response to emergency vehicle signals.


Tactile acoustic devices primary and secondary attention cognitive processing hearing loss driving simulation emergency vehicle response automotive safety 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Brewster, S., Brown, L.M.: Tactons: Structured tactile messages for non-visual information display. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Australasian User Interface, AUIC 2004, vol. 28, pp. 15–23. Australian Computer Society, Inc., Darlinghurst (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cao, Y., van der Sluis, F., Theune, M., op den Akker, R., Nijholt, A.: Evaluating informative auditory and tactile cues for in-vehicle information systems. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, AutomotiveUI 2010, pp. 102–109. ACM, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hogema, J.H., De Vries, S.C., Van Erp, J.B.F., Kiefer, R.J.: A tactile seat for direction coding in car driving: Field evaluation. EEE Trans. Haptics 2(4), 181–188 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Karam, M.: The coffee lab: developing a public usability space. In: CHI 2010 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2010, pp. 2671–2680. ACM, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Karam, M., Nespoli, G., Russo, F., Fels, D.I.: Modelling perceptual elements of music in a vibrotactile display for deaf users: A field study. In: Proceedings of the 2009 Second International Conferences on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, ACHI 2009, pp. 249–254. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Karam, M., Russo, F.A., Fels, D.I.: Designing the model human cochlea: An ambient crossmodal audio-tactile display. EEE Trans. Haptics 2(3), 160–169 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    C. S. Manufacturers. Sa classic 400 sirensGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Palmer, C.V., Talbott, E., Lave, L.B., LaPorte, R.E., Songer, T.J.: Hearing disorders and commercial motor vehicle drivers (revised). Technical report, Pittsburgh Univ., PA. Dept. of Epidemiology (1993)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Russo, F.A., Ammirante, P., Fels, D.I.: Vibrotactile discrimination of musical timbre. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Human Perception and Performance 38, 822–826 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sinclair, I., Carter, J., Kassner, S., van Erp, J., Weber, G., Elliott, L., Andrew, I.: Towards a standard on evaluation of tactile/Haptic interactions. In: Isokoski, P., Springare, J. (eds.) EuroHaptics 2012, Part I. LNCS, vol. 7282, pp. 528–539. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.Kings College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations