This project was conducted at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. I worked with my supervisor, Yoichi Sato and my former lab members, Naoya Kato, Keita Higuchi, and Ryo Yonetani.
People with visual impairments often require mobility assistance of sighted guides but they are not always available. Recent technological strides have opened up new directions for remote guidance services, allowing people with visual impairments to receive real-time navigation assistance via audio/video communication with remote guides. Be My Eyes or Aira is a well-recognized service that pairs users with remote guides to offers visual assistance. Despite the advantages of having remotes guides, a 2016 study by Avila et al. has reported individual variability of the remote guides that inhibits quality assurance. There is an absence of known strategies to promote effective remote guide practices.
Our eventual goal is to make remote guidance cooperation a promising platform for people with visual impairments, especially to match them with effective remote guides for the navigation support. To this goal, it is important to understand desirable support characteristics of remote guides or challenges experienced in guide practices without the requisite expertise.
This work presents design opportunities for HCI to scaffold requirements of remote guides to assist effective indoor navigation of people with visual impairments. We conducted a comparative study of the performance of trained and untrained sighted guides to observe their communication/assistance approaches. We also exploited the performance assessment by the guided participants and the self-assessment of the guides’ performance to derive desirable support characteristics and challenges in providing remote guidance.
Based on our analysis, we came across the requirements of remote guides for verbal description, environmental, and co-navigation awareness. We suggest to develop the expertise of remote guides through: a) preliminary guidance cooperation awareness b) guidelines for verbal description methods, and c) approaches to compensate for the lack of environmental knowledge.
Rie Kamikubo, Naoya Kato, Keita Higuchi, Ryo Yonetani, and Yoichi Sato, “Support Strategies for Remote Guides in Assisting People with Visual Impairments for Effective Indoor Navigation”, In Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘20), April 2020.
Naoya Kato, Rie Kamikubo, Ryo Yonetani, and Yoichi Sato, “Multimodal Assessment of Remote Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired” (Japanese), IPSJ SIGHCI (Information Processing Society of Japan, SIG Human-Computer Interaction), March 2019.
This research work was supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) CREST project. It was additionally supported by Advanced Intelligence Project Grant from JST (Investigator: Rie Kamikubo, Title: Designing Effective Remote Collaboration in Orientation and Mobility Aid for the Visually Impaired).