Abstract. Human perception, in a world of continuous and seamless exposure to visual and auditory stimuli, is increasingly challenged to information overload. Among the primary human senses, vision, audition and tactation, particularly the sense of touch appears underemployed in todays designs of interfaces that deliver information to the user. While about more than 70 % of the information perceived by humans is delivered via the sight and hearing channel, only about 21 % is perceived via the haptic sense. In situations of work or engaged activity, where both the visual and auditory channel are occupied because of the involvement in the foreground task, notifications or alerts coming from the background, and delivered via these channels tend to fail to raise sufficient levels of attention. With this paper we propose to involve the haptic channel for situations where important notifications tend to be ”overseen ” or ”overheard”. We opt for a vibro-tactile notification system whenever eyes, ears and hands are in charge. A body worn, belt like vibration system is proposed, delivering tactile notifications to the user in a very subtle, unobtrusive, yet demanding style. Vibration elements seamlessly integrated into the fabric of an off-the-shelf waist belt, lets the system deliver patterns of vibration signals generated by modulating amplitude, frequency, duration and rhythm – so called tactograms – to eight well positioned vibra elements. A series of user tests has been conducted, investigating the perception of distance to physical objects, like walls or obstacles, in the vicinity of users. Results encourage for a whole new class of space awareness solutions
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