Enriquez, M., Afonin, O., Yager, B., MacLean, K. (2001). "A Pneumatic Tactile Notification System for the Driving Environment." in Proceedings of Workshop on Perceptive User Interfaces (PUI '01), Orlando, FL, 2001.
Sensory overloaded environments present an opportunity for innovative design in the area of Human-Machine Interaction. In this paper we study the usefulness of a tactile display in the automobile environment. Our approach uses a simple pneumatic pump to produce pulsations of varying frequencies on the driver’s hands through a car steering wheel fitted with inflatable pads. The goal of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of such a system in alerting the driver of a possible problem, when it is used to augment the visual display presently used in automobiles. A steering wheel that provides haptic feedback using pneumatic pockets was developed to test our hypothesis. The steering wheel can pulsate at different frequencies. The system was tested in a simple multitasking paradigm on several subjects and their reaction times to different stimuli were measured and analyzed. For these experiments, we found that using a tactile feedback device lowers reaction time significantly and that modulating frequency of vibration provides extra information that can reduce the time necessary to identify a problem.