Bone-Conduction Audio Interface to Guide People with Visual Impairments

  • Jacobus C. LockEmail author
  • Iain D. Gilchrist
  • Grzegorz Cielniak
  • Nicola Bellotto
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1122)


The ActiVis project’s aim is to build a mobile guidance aid to help people with limited vision find objects in an unknown environment. This system uses bone-conduction headphones to transmit audio signals to the user and requires an effective non-visual interface. To this end, we propose a new audio-based interface that uses a spatialised signal to convey a target’s position on the horizontal plane. The vertical position on the median plan is given by adjusting the tone’s pitch to overcome the audio localisation limitations of bone-conduction headphones. This interface is validated through a set of experiments with blindfolded and visually impaired participants.


Human-machine interface Vision impairment Spatialised sound Varying pitch Bone-conduction 



This research is partly supported by a Google Faculty Research Award. We would like to thank the Voluntary Centre Services UK for their help in facilitating the experiments with people with limited vision.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacobus C. Lock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Iain D. Gilchrist
    • 2
  • Grzegorz Cielniak
    • 1
  • Nicola Bellotto
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.University of BristolBristolUK

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