Passive haptic learning of Braille typing

Caitlyn Seim, John Chandler, Kayla Desportes, Siddharth Dhingra, Miru Park, Thad Starner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Passive Haptic Learning (PHL) is the acquisition of sensorimotor skills without active attention to learning. One method is to "teach"motor skills using vibration cues delivered by a wearable, tactile interface while the user is focusing on another, primary task. We have created a system for Passive Haptic Learning of typing skills. In a study containing 16 participants, users demonstrated significantly reduced error typing a phrase in Braille after receiving passive instruction versus control (32.85% average decline in error vs. 2.73% increase in error). PHL users were also able to recognize and read more Braille letters from the phrase (72.5% vs. 22.4%). In a second study, containing 8 participants thus far, we passively teach the full Braille alphabet over four sessions. Typing error reductions in participants receiving PHL were more rapid and consistent, with 75% of PHL vs. 0% of control users reaching zero typing error. By the end of the study, PHL participants were also able to recognize and read 93.3% of all Braille alphabet letters. These results suggest that Passive Haptic instruction facilitated by wearable computers may be a feasible method of teaching Braille typing and reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISWC 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450329699
StatePublished - Sep 13 2014
Event18th ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2014 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Sep 13 2014Sep 17 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC
ISSN (Print)1550-4816


Conference18th ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Braille
  • PHL
  • blind
  • haptic
  • interfaces
  • learning
  • passive learning
  • tactile
  • text entry
  • typing
  • wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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