Electronic Cane for Visually Impaired Persons: Empirical Examination of Its Usability and Effectiveness

  • Sung Yeon Kim
  • Ki Joon Kim
  • S. Shyam Sundar
  • Frank Biocca
Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE, volume 182)


Although various types of electronic mobility aids for visually impaired persons have been developed as alternatives to the conventional white cane, users still have much doubt on the effectiveness and usability of these newly introduced aids. To identify ways to improve usability and effectiveness of electronic cane, a task performance study was conducted to examine the usability level of electronic canes using performance metrics (based on time-consumption and error rates). 20 visually impaired persons with and without prior experience using a white cane participated in a 2x2 factorial mixed-design experiment, in which they used two types of cane (white vs. electronic). Results showed that an electronic cane was more effective in avoiding obstacles than a white cane for both experienced and inexperienced users, and previous experience with a white cane was found to be beneficial for timely task completion.


visually impaired persons electronic cane white cane usability task performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung Yeon Kim
    • 1
  • Ki Joon Kim
    • 1
  • S. Shyam Sundar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank Biocca
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Interaction ScienceSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Media Effects Research LaboratoryThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Media, Interface, and Network Design LaboratorySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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