Navigation performance in a virtual environment with bonephones
Walker, Bruce N.
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Audio navigation interfaces have traditionally been studied (and implemented) using headphones. However, many potential users (especially those with visual impairments) are hesitant to adopt these emerging wayfinding technologies if doing so requires them to reduce their ability to hear environmental sounds by wearing headphones. In this study we examined the performance of the SWAN audio navigation interface using bone-conduction headphones (``bonephones''), which do not cover the ear. Bonephones enabled all participants to complete the navigation tasks with good efficiencies, though not immediately as effective as regular headphones. Given the functional success here, and considering that the spatialization routines were not optimized for bonephones (this essentially represents a worst-case scenario), the prospects are excellent for more widespread usage of bone conduction for auditory navigation, and likely for many other auditory displays.