Mr. Pranjal Protim Borah, PhD student at EI Lab presented his research area, research gap, objectives and methodology in a recently concluded State of the Art Seminar (SOAS) at Department of Design, IIT Guwahati. His tentative title of research is "A Study on Deformation Gesture-based Input Method for Creation of Geometric Shapes by Users with Visual Impairment or Blindness"

Recent advances in flexible electronics and displays bring a new opportunity to interact with the digital devices via deformation of the physical device. These deformation gestures offer a high resolution of inputs that enables eye-free interaction by means of implicit tactile and kinesthetic feedback. Deformation gestures are also optimal for quick continuous bipolar interaction and have potential to overcome occlusion and reachability issues of touch and muti-touch interaction. This tactile mode of interaction promotes a further enhancement in input modality specially including the user group that relies heavily on tactile nature of input devices, particularly the users with visual impairment or blindness. Use of deformation gestures has been explored and evaluated to be useful for sighted users as well as users with visual impairment or blindness.

The recent increase in the use of touchscreen devices, which are more visually demanding, becomes a challenge for the user with visual impairment or blindness. The absence or week visual sense results in a hike of other sensory perceptions like hearing and touch. Taking advantage of this increase in other senses of visually impaired and blind users, touchscreen devices are made accessible through audio and vibration feedback. However, exploring elements on touchscreen interfaces without tactile buttons does not address for maximum accessibility of users with visual impairment or blindness. Communication through visual representation is a common mean to share ideas and concepts in one’s mind, which is not different for people with visual impairment or blindness. Users with visual impairment or blindness can read tactile visual information through touch while non-tactile digital visual information is accessed through audio feedback, Braille displays, and other haptic output devices. Despite the aid of technological platforms, digital drawing of 2D and 3D objects is not completely accessible to users with visual impairment or blindness. However, the use deformation gestures for non-visual drawing by this user group still remains unexplored. We took this opportunity and during the course of this Ph.D. work, we aim to answer 4 research questions that investigate the use of deformation gestures for creating 2D and 3D geometric shapes by users with visual impairment or blindness.

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