Feeling of stability while walking on the UWP and when device is taking a turn.
Any kind of malfunctioning of a device such as device not stopping after turning 90 degree.
The possibility of electric shock felt by the participant.
The side handles are provided to ensure the stability of participants.
The emergency stop switch has been provided at a convenient location to stop the device in case of any suspected malfunctioning. Second, the observer can also switch off the power supply in an event of emergency.
Proper earthing and fuse have been provided for electrical safety.
It solves instability problem during walking by providing supporting rods. The limited width of treadmill along with side supports gives a feeling of safety and eliminates the possibility of any fear of falling out of the device.
No special training is required to walk on it, as the process of walking on the device is the natural one.
The device's acceptability is expected to be high due to the feeling of safety along with the feeling of natural walking on the device. This results in the formation of mental maps without any hindrance.
It is a low weight device which is simple to operate and maintain.
The Unknown Target Space—the space to be explored as a virtual space in the VE (see Fig. 3). It is a 2300-square-foot building with one entrance, eight landmarks, and three corridors.
Exploration Task—each participant was asked individually to explore the virtual building and to complete the given task. The task was repeated four times, taking maximum 5 minutes for each trial. The first two repitition rounds are considered as partial-learning rounds. The next two repitions of exploration task led to significant learning. The trials were started with the experimenter informing the participants that they would be asked 1) to describe the building and its components, 2) to locate five landmarks as asked by the experimenter, and 3) to perform target-object task at the end of their exploration.
Object-Localization Task—participants were asked to locate particular five objects within 5 minutes. For this task, participants were provided contextual help only. In case of confusion, participant may get help from system by paying penalty for it. Same way, in case of mistake made by participants, system warns them and provides help.
Target-Object Task—participants were asked to perform target-object task that is “to go to computer lab starting from main entrance.” Participants were asked to perform this task using contextual help only. In case of confusion, participant may get help from system by paying penalty for it. Same way, in case of mistake made by participants, system warns them.
Questionnaire—the questionnaire comprised of eight questions concerning the participants' views and feedback about the UWP and system. The participants were given this questionnaire at the end of last trial.
Interview—the participants were asked to give verbal description of the unknown environment. Participants were asked about their experience and views about the study.
Observations—video camera of cell phone was used for recording the participant's exploration. Participants' navigation process and audio remarks in the VE were recorded during the tasks. The information from these recordings was combined with the computer log recording.
Computer log—the log enabled the researcher to analyze users' learning and exploration process in the VE. Participant's VE navigation trajectories, distances traversed, time duration taken, and breaks taken are stored in database.
Evaluation schemes—it served the researcher's analysis of the participants' mobility skills and their acquaintance process with the new space.
1. Familiarization with the VE features and operation of the UWP.
2. Participants' exploration of the unknown virtual space using the UWP.
3. Performing object-localization task (the participants were asked to locate five landmarks as asked by the experimenter).
4. Participants were asked to perform the target-object task (the user were asked to go to particular landmark).
5. Participants were asked to answer questionnaire and give a verbal description of the environment.
Exploration task: participants were asked to explore the VE and to complete the given task. Each participant repeated the task four times, taking maximum 5 minutes for each trial. Participants navigated the virtual space using first mode of navigation, i.e., they were provided the contextual cues and system help both. The testing task (i.e., Target-object task) was carried out after the second trial and after the fourth trial of Exploration task. Data collected during the testing task after the second trial are termed as partial learning. While the data collected after the fourth trial are termed as postlearning.
Object-localization task: the participants were asked to locate five landmarks as asked by the experimenter. This task took a maximum of 5 minutes.
Target-object task: the participants were asked to complete following task, i.e., “Go to the Computer Laboratory starting from Main Entrance.” The time allotted for this task was maximum 5 minutes.
Number of objects located and identified correctly, and
1) time taken, 2) number of times help taken, and 3) number of pauses taken to complete the task of traversing 300-feet length of specified route. A t-test was used to analyze the experimental data with a level of significance ( ) taken as 0.05. The feedback from the participants was also analyzed using t-test.
K.K. Patel is with the School of ICT, Ahmedabad University, 7, Yogiraj Bungalows, B/h Annapurna Restaurant, Jashodanagar, Ahmedabad 382 445, Gujarat, India. E-mail: email@example.com.
S. Vij is with the Department of CE-IT-MCA, SVIT, 18, JMK Apts., HT Road, Subhanpura, Vadodara 390 023, Gujarat, India.
Manuscript received 1 Feb. 2011; revised 13 May 2011; accepted 11 Sept. 2011; published 5 Dec. 2011.
For information on obtaining reprints of this article, please send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and reference IEEECS Log Number TLT-2011-02-0010.
Digital Object Identifier no. 10.1109/TLT.2011.29.
Kanubhai K. Patel is working toward the PhD degree from the Faculty of Technology at Dharmsinh Desai University, Nadiad. He received the MCA degree from Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, in June 1997. He is an assistant professor at the Schools of ICT of Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India. He was previously a faculty member at Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India. His research interests include assistive technology, spatial cognition, human-computer interaction, and virtual learning environments. He has authored more than 15 publications, including refereed journal papers and three book chapters. He has also authored a book, Data Structures: Theory and Problems. He is reviewer for a couple of peer-reviewed journals.
Sanjaykumar Vij received the PhD degree from IIT, Mumbai in 1974. He is currently the director in the Department of CE-IT-MCA, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Technology (SVIT), Vasad, India. His research interests include text mining, knowledge management, and NLP. He has authored more than 20 publications, including more than seven refereed journal papers and two book chapters. He is a member of the academic council, board of studies, and school research committee at Gujarat Technological University, Ahmedabad, India. He is a registered PhD guide with Dharmsinh Desai University, Nadiad, India. He was on a panel of experts/advisors at GSLET and GPSC. He was the chairman of the Computer Society of India, Vadodara Chapter.