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Rico Meng Kheong Chan

Rico moved to Hong Kong in 2007 to pursue a Masters Degree in Interaction Design at the School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Since the completion of his Master Degree he worked as a Project Associate for the School. He involved in design education research projects and worked on a spatial interaction design project.

Previously he obtained a Bachelor Degree of Communication (Advertising) from RMIT University, Australia. And after 5 years of working as a graphic designer in Melbourne, he received a teaching offer by an Arts & Design school; The One Academy of Communication Design, Kuala Lumpur—Malaysia. His time at PolyU has been very eye opening, his studies and works have completely changed his view toward design and the perception between ‘design & human’. The ‘value-of-design’ or ‘design value’ has been one of his main concerns in all of the interactive design projects that he has pursued; he began to realise how design can impact a human’s life in so many ways! With the integration of new technologies; many of the things that were ‘impossible’ are now ‘possible’; especially for the elderly, the visually impaired, people with physical constraints, people with learning difficulties, people who suffer from the lack of clean water and food, people who lost their basic living abilities (the 5 senses), citizens from the developing world and so on.

Research Title
Enhancing the Museum Experience for Visually Impaired People in Hong Kong: Haptic-audio Interaction Design (HAID)

Supervisor
Prof. Kin Wai Michael Siu (Chief Supervisor)

About the Research
"Hearing is a form of touch. Something that's so hard to describe, something that comes, sound that comes to you... You feel it through your body, and, sometimes, it almost hits your face."- Evelyn Glennie, Touch The Sound.

It is commonly believed that visually impaired people perform better than sighted people at a variety of non-visual tasks. The visually impaired compensate for their lack of vision with increased processing within other sensory modalities. The touch (haptic) and sound (audio) senses are essential for visually impaired people to gather information about their surroundings and to perform activities in daily live. Touch and sound give information not only on the characteristics of objects, such as their shape, size, and texture, but also on functional aspects such as the possibility that objects can be used as tools. The visually impaired have to use touch and sound instead of vision to navigate in space, identify objects, and to obtain information. From a pedagogical perspective, it is essential to teach visually impaired people all the possible and relevant strategies to help them cope with everyday challenges.

A recent trend is the increased use of embedded technological support in services and products suitable for different users in multiple contexts including people with physical constraints. Technologies have created new opportunities to allow users to minimize their day-to-day living difficulties and to perform activities or access unfamiliar environments previously impossible or challenging. This research project will investigate of haptic and audio interaction design, specifically the integration and synchronization of tactile imagery (3D-printing), haptic (touch) and audio (sound), can be used as a device to stimulate visual connection and imagination. And also to propose the effect of vibration and/or temperature feedback on the multi touch surface as it relates to evoking the remapping or sustaining of the sense-of-color for visually impaired people. The possible positive effect of this would likely be the creation of a memorable experience to providing better facilities for visually impaired visitors in the museum environment and their day-to-day activities.

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