Teaching the Blind to Find Their Way by Playing Video Games
Merabet, Lotfi B.
Connors, Erin C.
Halko, Mark A.
Sánchez Ilabaca, Jaime
Cita de ítem
Video Games for Blind Navigation PLOS ONE September 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 9 | e44958
Artículo de publicación ISI
Computer based video games are receiving great interest as a means to learn and acquire new skills. As a novel approach to
teaching navigation skills in the blind, we have developed Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES); a virtual reality
environment set within the context of a video game metaphor. Despite the fact that participants were naı¨ve to the overall
purpose of the software, we found that early blind users were able to acquire relevant information regarding the spatial
layout of a previously unfamiliar building using audio based cues alone. This was confirmed by a series of behavioral
performance tests designed to assess the transfer of acquired spatial information to a large-scale, real-world indoor
navigation task. Furthermore, learning the spatial layout through a goal directed gaming strategy allowed for the mental
manipulation of spatial information as evidenced by enhanced navigation performance when compared to an explicit route
learning strategy. We conclude that the immersive and highly interactive nature of the software greatly engages the blind
user to actively explore the virtual environment. This in turn generates an accurate sense of a large-scale three-dimensional
space and facilitates the learning and transfer of navigation skills to the physical world.