Spatial Auditory Displays: Substitution and Complemenarity to Visual Displays
Wenzel, Elizabeth M.
Miller, Joel D.
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The primary goal of this research was to compare the performance in localization of stationary targets during a simulated extra-vehicular exploration of a planetary surface. Three different types of displays were tested for aiding orientation and localization: a 3D spatial auditory display, a 2D North-up visual map, and the combination of the two in a bimodal display. Localization performance was compared under four different environmental conditions combining high and low levels of visibility and ambiguity. In a separate experiment using a similar protocol, the impact of visual workload on performance was also investigated contrasting high (Dual-Task paradigm) and low workload (Single Orientation task). A synergistic presentation of the visual and auditory information (bimodal display) lead to a significant improvement in performance (higher percent correct orientation and localization, shorter decision and localization times) compared to either unimodal condition, in particular when the visual environmental conditions were degraded. Preliminary data using the dual-task paradigm suggest that the performance with displays utilizing auditory cues was less affected by the extra demands of additional visual workload than a visual-only display.