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Design applied to the mobility of visually impaired people: a proposal for research and innovation

Grant number: 19/14438-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): June 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Industrial Design
Principal Investigator:Fausto Orsi Medola
Grantee:Aline Darc Piculo dos Santos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura, Artes e Comunicação (FAAC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Bauru. Bauru , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The vision is a great allied in the locomotion process and its absence influences the motor control, increasing the risks of accidents and making it necessary the use of Assistive Technologies (ATs) to obtain efficient mobility, with safety and autonomy. Design and ergonomics perform an important role in the development of ATs, contributing to aspects of the interface with the user - such as efficiency and satisfaction - besides innovation. The white cane, AT commonly used for mobility, does not detect obstacles above the waistline, putting in risk its users. Studies indicate an increasing interest in the development of solutions for the mobility problem of visually impaired people; however, most studies address only functional aspects of the devices. There are few studies addressing the aspects related to the interaction between user and device, which can influence the acceptance and satisfaction with the product. Thus, it is necessary to investigate what characteristics influence the performance as well as the perception about devices and its users, and how this affects the satisfaction and social inclusion of the visually impaired person. This study aims to develop and evaluate a new design of a mobility device for visually impaired people. The procedures involve evaluations with blindfolded and visually impaired participants that will perform mobility activities with the prototype and the white cane in a path with obstacles. The dependent variables walking speed and detection of obstacles, and the perceptive variables related to the interaction of users with the devices will be evaluated. It is expected, with this study, to contribute to the innovation and usability in the production of mobility devices for visually impaired people that improve the users' navigation and acceptance. (AU)