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There are several key motivations behind the HaptiComm project. These cover a broad spectrum of factors that impact on people who are Deafblind as well as more general areas such as haptic feedback. the key motivations are:
  • Communication and Information Access
    Undoubtedly our main motivation is to allow for Deafblind individuals to have freedom of access to communication and information. People often take it for granted that they (generally) have uninhibited access to communication through their vision and hearing. This allows them to readily partake in community, social groups and be actively independent for their daily needs. Deafblind individuals face this challenge on a continued basis within a world heavily reliant on vision and hearing for information access. HaptiComm hopes to alleviate some of this difficulty by allowing for greater access to information in a channel readily accessible to them, the channel of touch and tactile sensation which offers a very rich medium.

  • Interpreter Availability
    While HaptiComm would like to be able to replace human interpreters, this goal is unlikely given previous experiences with assistive technology such as the Tactaid, Tickle Talker and Vocoder experiencing very limited success. Devices such as HaptiComm can attempt to reproduce the natural sensations of an interpreter but it is a struggle to replicate the sheer depth of information an interpreter can portray in a haptic format (Auditorsual, Emotional and other context. However, the Deaf community and to a much larer extent, the Deafblind community currently experiences a drastic shortage of interpreters. The project hopes to lighten this issue by allowing for the HaptiComm to be used in more informal environments and/or circumstances where an interpreter is not available. Further, the device can be used in combination with interpreters in environments where more than one may be required.

  • Physical strain and interpreter burnout
    The amount of physical contact required to maintain continual communication in haptic channels is exhausting and physically straining. Intrpreters and Deafblind individuals who attempt to partake in high levels of social and community immersion or other activities that require extended periods of interpreting often complain of pain. Areas often compained about include the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers and neck. HaptiComm hopes to augment the interpreters communication and allow for more breaks for them. It also attempts to place the Deafblind persons hand(s) in a more comfortable position (at rest) to allow them to continue to receive information while not straining their limbs any further.

  • Greater depth in haptic immersion
    Haptics has a fairly long and extensive history but society in general han’t been fully exposed to the world of tactile technologies. Most people think of their mobile phone when we discuss haptic feedback and its capacity to buzz in your pocket when it's in silent mode. While some of the patterns used for vibrations and their intensities can be modified in these devices, haptics has usually remained an on/off scenario. HaptiComm allows for a much broader application and modifiability of its sensation generation allowing for greater levels of immersion.

  • Cost
    The high price of adaptive technology has often impeded its uptake. While some initiatives such as government funds, subsidies and other funding sources exist this still remains an issue from a production versus consumer base viewpoint. HaptiComm tries to limit this by keeping costs down and relying heavily on "off-the-shelf" equipment as opposed to highly specialized options.

Revision History
1.1 [02/05/2019]
  • Minor rewrite
  • Added section about cost

1 [01/08/2018]
  • Initial Release

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