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Various modes of sensory feedback have the potential to improve robotic navigation performance. This paper proposes a novel way of using auditory feedback as a substitute for visual feedback to ensure that teleoperated robotic systems still function in real time under unfavorable communication conditions, such as with image losses, visual failures, or low-bandwidth communication links. The proposed theoretical frame consists of a translation model that links auditory and visual modalities with the help of ecological psychology. An experimental system is developed to test the feasibility of this conceptual model through psychoacoustic experiments with ten subjects that conduct real-time robotic navigation tasks. Assessment of this implementation provides convincing experimental evidence of the usefulness of auditory feedback as a complement to or substitute for visual display for remote robotic navigation. This is very beneficial when the network is congested or when the available bandwidth is low. This technology is also useful as a navigation aid for the visually impaired. However, an actual integrated system remains to be developed and evaluated.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012