Press Releases
 Press Releases

UH: A tactile glove provides subtle guidance to objects in the vicinity

Author: minna.merilainen 10/10/2012 03:29 PM

University of Helsinki
Kumpula Science Campus

A tactile glove provides subtle guidance to objects in the vicinity

Researchers at HIIT and Max Planck Institute for Informatics show how
computer vision -based hand tracking and vibration feedback on the user?s
hand can be used to steer the user's hand toward an object of interest. A
study shows an almost three-fold advantage in finding objects from complex
visual scenes, such as library or supermarket shelves.

Finding an object from a complex real-world scene is a common yet
time-consuming and frustrating chore. What makes this task complex is that
humans' pattern recognition capability reduces to a serial one-by-one
search when the items resemble each other.

Researchers from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and
the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed a prototype of a
glove that uses vibration feedback on the hand to guide the user's hand
towards a predetermined target in 3D space. The glove could help users in
daily visual search tasks in supermarkets, parking lots, warehouses,
libraries etc.

The main researcher, Ville Lehtinen of HIIT, explains "the advantage of
steering a hand with tactile cues is that the user can easily interpret
them in relation to the current field of view where the visual search is
operating. This provides a very intuitive experience, like the hand being
'pulled' toward the target."

The solution builds on inexpensive off-the-shelf components such as four
vibrotactile actuators on a simple glove and a Microsoft Kinect sensor for
tracking the user's hand. The researchers published a dynamic guidance
algorithm that calculates effective actuation patterns based on distance
and direction to the target.

In a controlled experiment, the complexity of the visual search task was
increased by adding distractors to a scene. "In search tasks where there
were hundreds of candidates but only one correct target, users wearing the
glove were consistently faster, with up to three times faster performance
than without the glove", says Dr. Antti Oulasvirta from Max Planck
Institute for Informatics.

Dr. Petteri Nurmi from HIIT adds: "This level of improvement in search
performance justifies several practical applications. For instance,
warehouse workers could have gloves that guide them to target shelfs, or a
pedestrian could navigate using this glove. With the relatively inexpensive
components and the dynamic guidance algorithm, others can easily build
their own personal guidance systems.?

The research paper will be presented at the 25th ACM Symposium on User
Interface Software and Technology UIST'12 in Boston, MA, USA on 7?10
October, 2012.

Dr. Petteri Nurmi
Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, University of Helsinki

Dr. Antti Oulasvirta
Max Planck Institute for Informatics

Best regards,
Minna Merilšinen-Tenhu, Press Officer, University of Helsinki, +358 50 415

Minna Merilšinen-Tenhu
Science, media & society
(09) 191 51042, +358 50 415 0316

Member of the Finnish  Association of Science Editors and Journalists
8th World Conference of Science Journalists, Helsinki, June 24-28, 2013,