Overview

Immersive video is changing the way we enjoy TV. It is no longer just about receiving sequential images with audio, but also playing with other human senses through smells, vibrations of movement, 3D audio, feeling water, wind, heat, and other emotions that can be experienced through all human senses. This work aims to validate the usefulness of an immersive and interactive solution for people with severe visual impairment by developing a haptic glove that allows receiving signals and generating vibrations in hand, informing about what happens in a scene. The study case presented here shows how the haptic device can take the information about the ball’s location in the playing field, synchronized with the video reception, and deliver it to the user in the form of vibrations during the re-transmission of a soccer match. In this way, we take visually impaired people to live a new sensory experience, allowing digital and social inclusion and accessibility to audiovisual technologies that they could not enjoy before. This work shows the methodology used for the design, implementation, and results evaluation. Usability tests were carried out with fifteen visually impaired people who used the haptic device to attend a soccer match synchronized with the glove’s vibrations.

The statistical data interpretation shows positive results that were analyzed in more detail in the analysis and evaluation of results section. The mean, mode, and median values in the three phases of the survey remained at high and very high values, except for those expected to have low and very low values as an ideal result. The standard deviation is acceptable and allows us to conclude that the procedure proposed for evaluating results was adequate. Using the bootstrap method to better estimate the population size based on resampling of the original small sample helped us to validate our statistical results. It was observed that the trend of the originally calculated means was maintained, and the variance was improved with a larger population considering a bilateral confidence interval of 95%, and this allows us to infer a true value of the mean parameter.
It was also of great value to find a non-parametric method suitable for the small number of samples we had available and ordinal and non-quantitative data. The data we had were rather qualitative but based on a null hypothesis test, we can infer that the median results originally obtained were within those calculated with Mood's median test, also with a 95% confidence interval. These results encourage us to continue with the work and to carry out the execution of future works.

After the analysis of the results, it is concluded that the glove proposal offers a real solution to the problem that blind people encounter when following a soccer match on TV. The glove's evaluation and performance tests proved that it is really useful and satisfactory to use it for this vulnerable group, which is somehow excluded from this type of audiovisual application. 

It can also be concluded that the haptic effect significantly improves the hearing experience that people with visual impairment live when attending sports programs on TV; the quality of experience felt by users was higher than when haptic feedback is not presented. It is worth discussing that although the application was developed with a focus on delivering complementary information of the scenes that help the accessibility of blind people to the content of sporting events broadcast on television, whether they are live or pre-recorded in the case of VOD. With the feedback we received from the end-users, and based on their needs, it was determined that the glove gadget could also be used in the radio broadcast, in any sports video content regardless of the platform or transmission medium, even for physical events. For example, for visually impaired people attending a stadium or practicing soccer for the blind. To achieve this goal, we are currently working on finding a solution by applying artificial vision and deep learning techniques to automatically detect and track the ball automatically and generate the location coordinates.

The proposal was novel for the specific application used, but the evaluation process determined that it could be adapted and used in other applications in the future. For example, in other sports, even unrelated to the initial focus, we gave it in this immersive and interactive TV work. 
The haptic device's construction in the form of a glove that fits the hand is feasible, was not obtrusive or intrusive to users, the bracelet fits perfectly on the forearm is comfortable and light. However, the size and weight could be improved in future work.

This work mentions at least three proposals to send this data and achieve integration with television's broadcast system. Leaves open the research and analysis path to find the best solution to this challenge because the main limitation is not using it in a live soccer match or in real-time. It also leaves open broader research to determine the most appropriate technology to automate the generation of the ball location vector on the field.

[1]

The entry is from 10.3390/s21072325

References

  1. Diego Villamarín; José Menéndez; Haptic Glove TV Device for People with Visual Impairment. Sensors 2021, 21, 2325, 10.3390/s21072325.
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