Horseback riding therapy for a deafblind individual enabled by a haptic interface
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We present a haptic interface to help blind and deafblind people to practice horse riding as a recreational and therapeutic activity. Horseback riding is a form of therapy which can improve self-esteem and sensation of independence. It has been shown to benefit people with various medical conditions including autism. However, in the case of deafblind riders an interpreter must stand by at all times to communicate with the rider by touch. We developed a simple interface that enables deafblind people to enjoy horseback riding while the instructor is remotely providing cues, which improves their independence. Experiments demonstrated that an autistic deafblind individual exhibits similar responses to spatial navigational cues as an unimpaired rider. Motivation is an important factor in therapy and is frequently determinant of its outcome, therefore the user attitude towards the therapy methods is key. The answers to questionnaires filled by the rider, family and the instructor show that our technique gives the rider a greater sense of independence and more joy compared to standard riding where the instructor is walking along with the horse.
AuthorsOgrinc, M; FARKHATDINOV, I; Walker, R; Burdet, E
- College Publications