3D sound interactive environments for blind children problem solving skills

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Audio-based virtual environments have been increasingly used to foster cognitive and learning skills. A number of studies have also highlighted that the use of technology can help learners to develop effective skills such as motivation and self-esteem. This study presents the design and usability of 3D interactive environments for children with visual disabilities to help them solve problems in Chilean geography and culture. We introduce AudioChile, a virtual environment that can be navigated through 3D sound to enhance spatiality and immersion throughout the environment. 3D sound is used to orientate, avoid obstacles, and identify the positions of various characters and objects within the environment. We have found during the usability evaluation that sound can be fundamental for attention and motivation purposes during interaction. Learners identified and clearly discriminated environmental sounds to solve everyday problems, spatial orientation, and laterality.

Keywords: 3D sound; Hyperstories; Problem solving; Role-playing game; Virtual world

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01449290600636660

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Blanco Encalada 2120, Santiago, Chile

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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