A Computational Model of Spatial Learning by a Person with Visual Disability: An Exploratory Study

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Kanubhai K. Patel
Sanjay Kumar Vij


A computational model, named as Non-visual Spatial Learning (NSL) model, of spatial learning by a person with visual disability
through virtual environment (VE) is proposed in this paper. We report an experiment that investigates the validity of our NSL model by
prototype system implementation based on the model. Fourteen participants ranging from 17 to 35 years old participated in experiment. They
were divided in to two groups — bind-folded sighted (8 participants), and blind (6 participants). They learned spatial layout in VE using two
exploration modes: guided (training phase) and unguided (testing phase). In unguided exploration mode, spatial layout knowledge was assessed
by asking participants to perform object localization task and target-object task. The results reveal that there were significant improvements in
post-training navigation performance of the participants.


Keywords: assistive technology; cognitive maps; spatial learning; virtual environment; visually impaired


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