How can we design technologies that create an inclusive fan experience for people with visual impairments through sound and the sense of touch?
An inclusive society aims at empowering and promoting the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic, or other statuses. It is a society that leaves no one behind. This project aims to enhance the fan experience of people with sensory impairments in the context of the Johan Cruijf ArenA.
When we think of our senses, the five most common—vision, audition, taste, olfaction (smell), and touch come to mind. However, there are also less well-known senses, such as proprioception (the sense of one’s body in time and space) and vestibular senses (sense of balance). Visual impairments include not only blindness but also a poor vision that is not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the total number of visually impaired people worldwide at 161 million. These populations face a variety of challenges in navigating a physical and social world that is often not designed with them in mind.
On the other hand, visually impaired people usually develop other sensory abilities to make sense of the environment, such as navigating with a white cane that provides tapping sound and vibration, and reading with the tip of their fingers through Brailles. With advancements in sensing and processing technologies, now we can create devices that provide augmented sensory feedback for visually impaired people to enrich their lived experience, such as listening to the landscape in a train journey and feeling a smile in the palm of your hand.
In response to the functional demands resulted from sensory impairments, the brain has the capacity to adapt itself to interpret sensory information from undamaged modalities, for instance, in the case of using a white cane, the visual information is substituted by the touch sensation. As human beings, our culture regulates us both in the ways we think as well as in the ways we perceive and connect to our reality. Through the lens of designing for the visually impaired, we aim to shift the social stigma of disability to the celebration of other-ability, to create a truly inclusive experience in which no body is excluded.
This project focused on the Sustainable Development Goals: