Audible beacons and wearables in schools : helping young visually impaired children play and move independently

Freeman, Euan and Wilson, Graham and Brewster, Stephen and Baud-Bovy, Gabriel and Magnusson, Charlotte and Caltenco, Hector; Mark, Gloria and Fussell, Susan and Lampe, Cliff and Schraefel, M. C. and Hourcade, Juan Pablo and Appert, Caroline and Wigdor, Daniel, eds. (2017) Audible beacons and wearables in schools : helping young visually impaired children play and move independently. In: CHI 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings . Association for Computing Machinery, USA, pp. 4146-4157. ISBN 9781450346559

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    Abstract

    Young children with visual impairments tend to engage less with their surroundings, limiting the benefits from activities at school. We investigated novel ways of using sound from a bracelet, such as speech or familiar noises, to tell children about nearby people, places and activities, to encourage them to engage more during play and help them move independently. We present a series of studies, the first two involving visual impairment educators, that give insight into challenges faced by visually impaired children at school and how sound might help them. We then present a focus group with visually impaired children that gives further insight into the effective use of sound. Our findings reveal novel ways of combining sounds from wearables with sounds from the environment, motivating audible beacons, devices for audio output and proximity estimation. We present scenarios, findings and a design space that show the novel ways such devices could be used alongside wearables to help visually impaired children at school.