Training blind children to use audio-based navigation is a demanding and risky task, as children can walk into objects and hurt themselves. Furthermore, training outdoors is dangerous due to traf- fic, noise and weather conditions. Having a controlled indoor environment is safer but not always available. To tackle this problem, we developed an audio-based computer game, Legend of Iris (LoI), specifically designed to train navigation skills.
The game is a 3D exploration game, which uses the headtracking capabilities of the Oculus Rift to create an immersive experience, and the new sound libraries AstoundSound and Phonon3D, to generate an accurate and realistic soundscape. These libraries use a head-related transfer function, allowing the player to localize the audio source in 3D space.
The design of LoI involved selecting sounds that are easily recognizable to provide cues to blind people playing the game. A subset of these cues were incorporated into the game. To verify the effectiveness of the game in developing audio orientation and navigation skills, we performed a preliminary qualitative experiment with blind children in a dedicated school. The results were rather positive, confirming that such a game is indeed a very suitable means for this purpose.
The game is open source and binaries can be downloaded from github as well as on this webpage