Haptiland: designing a haptic interface for people with deafblindness
Haptiland is a wearable technology that offers a simplified language for people with deafblindness, a condition that involves two impairments within a single person, which increases the impact of each impairment. People with deafblindness have difficulties in many areas, including navigating to places, communicating with others, and coping with basic living skills such as cooking, eating, and even pouring water.
Haptiland is concerned with the communication between the deafblind and able-bodied people in specific circumstances when a deafblind person needs to ‘speak’ to able-bodied individuals who do not know sign language. Haptiland seeks to rethink the deafblind interactions with able-bodied individuals by creating a simplified language with a low learning curve. This project developed through a series of observations of communication among deafblind people in different contexts: one-to-one, small peers group, and also with able-bodied persons. It uses interaction design as an approach to provide a series of feasible communication interfaces for a wearable communication aid.
Haptiland, as the name implies, focuses on haptic perception, as touch is the primary sense that deafblind people rely on. Haptiland offers haptic input and output, through a simple language created with the help of sensors and vibration motors attached to a glove. This project seeks to assure and improve the confidence of deafblind people, enabling them to be more aware of their surroundings.