EarVR: Using Ear Haptics in Virtual Reality for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People

Mohammadreza Mirzaei, Peter Kán, Hannes Kaufmann
EarVR: Using Ear Haptics in Virtual Reality for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 26(05):2084-2093, May 2020. [TVCG]

Information

  • Publication Type: Journal Paper with Conference Talk
  • Workgroup(s)/Project(s):
  • Date: May 2020
  • Call for Papers: Call for Paper
  • Date (from): 22. March 2020
  • Date (to): 26. March 2020
  • DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2020.2973441
  • Event: IEEE VR 2021
  • Journal: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
  • Lecturer: Hannes Kaufmann
  • Number: 05
  • Open Access: no
  • Pages (from): 2084
  • Pages (to): 2093
  • Volume: 26
  • Keywords: Handicapped Aids, Haptic Interfaces, Helmet Mounted Displays, Virtual Reality, 3 D Sounds, 3 D Audio, Deaf And Hard Of Hearing People, Head Mounted Display, VR Application, Ear VR, VR Technology, Haptic Devices, DHH Persons, Hearing Problems, VR Apps.

Abstract

Virtual Reality (VR) has a great potential to improve skills of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) people. Most VR applications and devices are designed for persons without hearing problems. Therefore, DHH persons have many limitations when using VR. Adding special features in a VR environment, such as subtitles, or haptic devices will help them. Previously, it was necessary to design a special VR environment for DHH persons. We introduce and evaluate a new prototype called "EarVR" that can be mounted on any desktop or mobile VR Head-Mounted Display (HMD). EarVR analyzes 3D sounds in a VR environment and locates the direction of the sound source that is closest to a user. It notifies the user about the sound direction using two vibro-motors placed on the user's ears. EarVR helps DHH persons to complete sound-based VR tasks in any VR application with 3D audio and a mute option for background music. Therefore, DHH persons can use all VR applications with 3D audio, not only those applications designed for them. Our user study shows that DHH participants were able to complete a simple VR task significantly faster with EarVR than without. The completion time of DHH participants was very close to participants without hearing problems. Also, it shows that DHH participants were able to finish a complex VR task with EarVR, while without it, they could not finish the task even once. Finally, our qualitative and quantitative evaluation among DHH participants indicates that they preferred to use EarVR and it encouraged them to use VR technology more.

Additional Files and Images

Additional images and videos

EarVR: EarVR EarVR: EarVR

Additional files

Weblinks

BibTeX

@article{Mirzaei_Mohammadreza_2020-EVR,
  title =      "EarVR: Using Ear Haptics in Virtual Reality for Deaf and
               Hard-of-Hearing People",
  author =     "Mohammadreza Mirzaei and Peter K\'{a}n and Hannes Kaufmann",
  year =       "2020",
  abstract =   "Virtual Reality (VR) has a great potential to improve skills
               of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) people. Most VR
               applications and devices are designed for persons without
               hearing problems. Therefore, DHH persons have many
               limitations when using VR. Adding special features in a VR
               environment, such as subtitles, or haptic devices will help
               them. Previously, it was necessary to design a special VR
               environment for DHH persons. We introduce and evaluate a new
               prototype called "EarVR" that can be mounted on any desktop
               or mobile VR Head-Mounted Display (HMD). EarVR analyzes 3D
               sounds in a VR environment and locates the direction of the
               sound source that is closest to a user. It notifies the user
               about the sound direction using two vibro-motors placed on
               the user's ears. EarVR helps DHH persons to complete
               sound-based VR tasks in any VR application with 3D audio and
               a mute option for background music. Therefore, DHH persons
               can use all VR applications with 3D audio, not only those
               applications designed for them. Our user study shows that
               DHH participants were able to complete a simple VR task
               significantly faster with EarVR than without. The completion
               time of DHH participants was very close to participants
               without hearing problems. Also, it shows that DHH
               participants were able to finish a complex VR task with
               EarVR, while without it, they could not finish the task even
               once. Finally, our qualitative and quantitative evaluation
               among DHH participants indicates that they preferred to use
               EarVR and it encouraged them to use VR technology more.",
  month =      may,
  doi =        "10.1109/TVCG.2020.2973441",
  journal =    "IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics",
  number =     "05",
  volume =     "26",
  pages =      "2084--2093",
  keywords =   "Handicapped Aids, Haptic Interfaces, Helmet Mounted
               Displays, Virtual Reality, 3 D Sounds, 3 D Audio, Deaf And
               Hard Of Hearing People, Head Mounted Display, VR
               Application, Ear VR, VR Technology, Haptic Devices, DHH
               Persons, Hearing Problems, VR Apps.",
  URL =        "https://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/research/publications/2020/Mirzaei_Mohammadreza_2020-EVR/",
}