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Blind Lead the Way in Brave New World of Tactile Technology

By ­C Berkeley NewsCenter

July 7, 2014

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People are better and faster at navigating tactile technology when using both hands and several fingers, according to new research from the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

"No matter what the task, people perform better using multiple fingers and hands," says UC Berkeley student and lead study author Valerie Morash.

Researchers tested 14 blind adults and 14 blindfolded sighted adults on several tasks using a tactile map. Participants faced challenges of using various hand and finger combinations to find a landmark or determine if a road looped around. Overall, the participants performed better when using both hands and several fingers, but the blind adults were on average 50 percent faster at completing the tasks.

Researchers at Disney and other media companies are implementing more tactile interfaces, and the technologies need to support the use of both hands and multiple fingers, Morash notes. "This will promote the best tactile performance in applications such as the remote control of robotics used in space and high-risk situations, among other things," she says.

From UC Berkeley NewsCenter
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