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    BIONIC - 'eyes-free' design of secondary driving controls

    Accessible Design in the Digital World Conference 2005

    Dundee, Scotland, 23 - 25 August 2005


    J Mark Porter, Steve Summerskill, Gary Burnett & Katharine Prynne


    The BIONIC project (Blind Operation of In-car Controls) was set-up to develop an 'eyes-free' prototype interface, enabling drivers to access secondary and ancillary controls whilst minimising the visual demands within the car. This research was initiated out of concern for the increasing use of multi-function screen based interfaces that place an additional visual workload on the driver.

    BIONIC has created new guidelines for the design of highly tactile control interfaces, based upon a series of experimental studies and the development of prototype designs that are described in this paper. The first iteration prototype controls were assessed in a driving simulator trial. Second iteration working prototypes were then installed within a Honda Civic demonstrator vehicle and these novel controls were compared to the current interface in on-road trials.

    A strong emphasis was placed on measures that directly relate to safety, such as the number and duration of glances made to the control and/or display. A reduction in total glance duration of 10% was stated as our target in the grant proposal; the BIONIC interface achieved an overall reduction of 27% and 29% for the HVAC and SAT NAV tasks, respectively.

    The BIONIC ICE tasks required a 3% increase in total glance duration, but this was related to prototype build issues requiring a large number of button pushes to adjust the sound characteristics. Further analysis will remove this bias and it is expected that the ICE tasks will show similar reductions to the other tasks investigated.


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