skip to main content

Sketch Recognition Lab
Director: Dr. Tracy Anne Hammond

Haptigo/HaptiMoto

Navigation through Touch Alone


About

Military personnel often have to navigate through hostile and unfamiliar territories in the dead of night. Maintaining situational awareness and stealth is crucial to the warfighter’s survival. It is imperative that warfighters keep their eyes and ears on their surroundings, and their hands on their weapons. Traditional navigational solutions provide sound or visual feedback and/or require touch interaction; all of these interrupt the warfighter’s concentration. SRL’s solution was to develop Haptigo, a haptic feedback vest that provides easily understood navigational instructions as well as information about the environment using only vibration feedback to the warfighter. Activity recognition is used to automatically understand the warfighter’s actions, intentions, and even his or her medical/mental/warfighter state; important information is sent to the troop leader.

Through the support of DARPA, IDA, and TAMU, Hammond and SRL performed interviews with military and government personnel at over fifty different Marine, Army, Navy, and Government bases and facilities over a 12 month period. This was followed by an extensive ethnographic study and testing over a 24 month period with paratroopers under the direction of the Commanding General Lieutenant General Frank Helmick (ret.) at the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg and the TAMU ROTC.

SRL’s investigations have shown that motorcyclists (and the visually impaired) often suffer from similar impediments to maintaining their situational awareness. HaptiMoto allows motorcyclists, who need their eyes, ears, and hands on the road, to receive navigational direction information solely through vibration feedback. Rigorous testing has shown that both warfighters and civilians using the Haptigo or HaptiMoto navigational vest have higher situational awareness and get to their location more quickly and more directly than those using audio (headphone), visual (smartphone, watch, or paper map), or even memorized solutions, whether the warfighter or civilian is on foot or motorcycle.


People

 SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage SRLMemberImage
Javier Anguas; Alejandro Benavides; David Brhlik; Jackie Byun; Josh Cherian; Christopher Cortes; Randy Cross; Dr. Danielle Cummings; Omar Garcia; Dr. Tracy Hammond; Aldo Haro; Jimmy Ho; Temiloluwa Otuyelu; Dr. Manoj Prasad; Vijay Rajanna; Nahum Villanueva; Courtney Walker; Chad Young;

News

 TAMU   2015-04-03
Dr. Hammond Presents at 2015 Esri Developer Summit:
On Thursday, March 12, the Director of the Sketch Recognition Lab, Dr. Tracy Hammond, presented GeoTrooper at the 2015 Esri Developer Summit, held in Palms Beach, Florida, in a presentation titled “Wearable Haptic Navigation Systems for Soldiers and Motorcyclists.”
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 Daily   2015-01-13
GeoTrooper, Dr. Hammond, and SRL Featured on Discovery Channel Daily Planet Canada:
Geo Trooper: All about improving your sense of direction, this vest is designed to save lives for both soldiers on the battlefield and commuters battling traffic by allowing for heads-up, hands-free navigation. (video starts after 2 commercials)
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 TAMU   2014-10-01
Hammond speaker at Evolution of the Warfighter event in Washington D.C.:
Dr. Tracy Anne Hammond, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was one of four speakers at Evolution of the Warfighter, Technology Version, an event designed to showcase the relationship between government funded research and general innovations. About 150 congressional staff members were at the event that was held in Washington, D.C.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 TAMU   2013-12-19
Dr. Tracy Hammond and Manoj Prasad interviewed by KBTX-TV News:
On the morning of Wednesday, December 11, 2013 local CBS affiliate KBTX-TV News visited the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Sketch Recognition Lab (SRL) to learn more about the lab's latest state-of-the-art research projects. News reporter David Norris spent some time with Associate Professor and Lab Director Tracy Hammond and her doctoral researcher Manoj Prasad on recent research ventures that have been or will be published in some of the top peer-reviewed conferences in the world.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 KBTX   2013-12-11
Texas A&M Team Puts the Vibe on Navigation Technology:
A Texas A&M University professor and her team of graduate and undergraduate students have created what may be the latest in navigational technology.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 TAMU   2013-05-24
GeoTrooper acknowledged in Paris:
The Sketch Recognition Lab (SRL) at Texas A&M University was nominated for best case study at the recent ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2013) in Paris, France, for the paper, "Multimodal Location-Aware System for Paratrooper Team Coordination."
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 Houston   2014-05-23
A&M team developing lightweight 'smart vest' as navigation guide:
The Houston Chronicle interviews Dr. Tracy Hammond about her research one wearable haptic vests for automatic Motorcycle navigation.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 TAMU   2014-05-21
Dr. Tracy Hammond demonstrates smart vest in Gävle:
During a recent visit to Gävle, Sweden, Texas A&M Associate Professor Dr. Tracy Anne Hammond met with representatives of industry and academia to cultivate interest in her team's smart vest research project as well as other ongoing investigations. The smart vest, a lightweight haptic navigation vest, was a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort involving recent Texas A&M graduate Dr. Manoj Prasad and Dr. Daniel W. Goldberg, assistant professor of geography.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 GefleDagblad   2014-04-23
Glöm kartor & GPS – nu visar jackan vägen:
Forget maps and GPS. Dr. Tracy Hammond's smart jacket shows the way by vibrating. On Tuesday she visited Gävle.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 Arbetarbladet   2014-04-22
Mc-jackan visar vägen:
Tracy Hammond, a professor at Texas A&M University, has created a smart jacket to allow motorcyclists to navigate only through touch. She is a world-leading researchers in smart technology that can facilitate our everyday life. Future Position X has invited Tracy Hammond to Gävle to get the chance to share her latest research and foster collaboration.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  
 YouTube   2012-09-05
Research@Texas A&M: Helping Ensure Men and Women in Uniform Return Safely Home:
Associate Professor Tracy Hammond and her graduate students in the Dwight Look College of Engineering developed the GeoTrooper system to aid paratroopers in the field, working in collaboration with the 18th Airborne Corps of the U.S. Army. The interactive Android phone application works in conjunction with a haptic vest with the goal to improve the movements and safety of paratroopers.
NewsImage   Link
PDF  

Awards

 2014 logo3rd place TAMU Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium
Emily Berk, Haptic Feedback from Wearable Device for Indoor Navigation in Disaster Situations, Session A on August 8, 2014
emilyberk
 2013 logoTexas A&M University Dissertation Fellowship
Dr. Manoj Prasad,
manojprasad
 2012 logoDoD Information Assurance Scholarship
Dr. Danielle Cummings,
daniellecummings
 2012 logoNSF EAPSI (East Asia Pacific Summer Institute) Program
Dr. Danielle Cummings, HITLab, New Zealand with Dr. Mark Billinghurst
daniellecummings
 2012 logo2nd Place TAMU Student Research Week Undergraduate Research Poster in Computational Sciences
Sarin Regmi, Haptigo (award: $150)
sarinregmi
 2011 logo3rd Place TAMU Industrial Affiliates Program Poster Competition
Dr. Manoj Prasad, GeoTrooper: A Location-Aware System for Rapid Team Assembly, September 11, 2011 (award:$100)
manojprasad
 2011 logo1st Place TAMU Student Research Week Graduate Oral in Computational Sciences
Chris Aikens, Dr. Danielle Cummings, Jimmy Ho, George Lucchese, Dr. Manoj Prasad, GeoTrooper: A Location-Aware System for Rapid Team Assembly
chrisaikensdaniellecummingsjimmyhogeorgelucchesemanojprasad
 2011 logoPeople’s Choice Award for Best Poster. Tapia Conference for Diversity
Dr. Danielle Cummings, GeoTrooper: A Location-Aware System for Rapid Team Assembly
daniellecummings

Publications

2014 
PublicationImage
 Prasad, Manoj; Russell, Murat I; Hammond, Tracy. A User Centric Model to Design Tactile Codes with Shapes and Waveforms. Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS). pp. 597-602. Houston, TX. IEEE, February 23-26, 2014. Link
Show Abstract:
The tactile medium of communication with users is appropriate for displaying information in situations where auditory and visual mediums are saturated. There are situations where a subject’s ability to receive information through either of these channels is severely restricted by the environment they are in or through any physical impairments that the subject may have. Usually, the tactile information is dis- played in the form of codes. These tactile codes can vary in both shape, and waveform of the code. Designers use variations shape or waveform as tactile codes. Usability of tactile codes depends on the users’ ability to distinguish between these variations. We have built two vibrotactile displays, Tactor I and Tactor II, each with nine actuators arranged in a three-by-three matrix with differing contact areas that can represent a total of 511 shapes. We used two dimensions of tactile medium, shapes and waveforms, to represent verb phrases and evaluated ability of users to perceive the tactile code. We propose a measure to rate the distinguishability between two shapes, a graph model with shapes as nodes and distinguishability between shapes as weights of edges, and an algorithm to cluster distinguishable shapes. We evaluated the distinguishability of shapes from the clustering algorithm against the experimenter’s choice of shapes for tactile codes with eight users. The results show that the users can distinguish the shapes proposed by the clustering algorithm with higher accuracy than the shapes chosen by the experimenter. The results from the study also show that users can identify simultaneously presented waveforms and shapes in the codes without reduction in waveform identification accuracy.

Show BibTex
@INPROCEEDINGS{Prasad2014Model,
 author = {Prasad, Manoj and Russell, Murat I. and Hammond, Tracy Anne},
 booktitle = {Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS), 2014 IEEE},
 title = {A user centric model to design tactile codes with shapes and waveforms},
 year = {2014},
 pages = {597--602},
 keywords = {actuators; display instrumentation; haptic interfaces; user centred design; actuators; auditory mediums; 
   graph model; shape clustering algorithm; tactile code design; tactile codes; tactile information; tactile medium; 
   user centric model; vibrotactile displays; visual mediums; Arrays; Carbon; Clustering algorithms; Heating; Shape; 
   Time factors; Usability},
 doi = {10.1109/HAPTICS.2014.6775523},
 month = {Feb}
}
2014 
PublicationImage
 Prasad, Manoj; Russell, Murat; Hammond, Tracy A. Designing Vibrotactile Codes to Communicate Verb Phrases. ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMM). Volume 11, Number 1, pp. Article 11: pp.1-21. ACM, September, 2014. Link
Show Abstract:
Soldiers, to guard themselves from enemy assault, have to maintain visual and auditory awareness of their environment. Their visual and auditory senses are thus saturated. This makes these channels less usable for communication. The tactile medium of communication with users is appropriate for displaying information in such situations. Research in interpersonal communication among soldiers shows that the most common form of communication between soldiers involves the use of verb phrases. In this article, we have developed 11 a three-by-three tactile display and proposed a method for mapping the components of a verb phrase to two dimensions of tactile codes—shape and waveform. Perception of tactile codes by users depends on the ability of users to distinguish shape and waveform of the code. We have proposed a measure to rate the distinguish-ability of any two shapes and created a graph-based user-centric model using this measure to select distinguishable shapes from a set of all presentable shapes. We conducted two user studies to evaluate the ability of users to perceive tactile information. The results from our first study showed users’ ability to perceive tactile shapes, tactile waveforms, and form verb phrases from tactile codes. The recognition accuracy and time taken to distinguish were better when the shapes were selected from the graph model than when shapes were chosen based on intuition. The second user study was conducted to test the performance of users while performing a primary visual task simultaneously with a secondary audio or haptic task. Users were more familiar with perceiving information from an auditory medium than from a haptic medium, which was reflected in their performance. Thus the performance of users in the primary visual task was better while using an audio medium of communication than while using a haptic medium of communication.

Show BibTex
@article{Prasad:2014:DVC,
 author = {Prasad, Manoj and Russell, Murat and Hammond, Tracy A.},
 title = {Designing Vibrotactile Codes to Communicate Verb Phrases},
 journal = {ACM Trans. Multimedia Comput. Commun. Appl.},
 issue_date = {September 2014},
 volume = {11},
 number = {1s},
 month = oct,
 year = {2014},
 issn = {1551-6857},
 pages = {11:1--11:21},
 articleno = {11},
 numpages = {21},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2637289},
 doi = {10.1145/2637289},
 acmid = {2637289},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {Tactile interface, Vibrotactile pattern perception, communication, graph model, perception model,
   tactile code, user centric design}
}
2014 
PublicationImage
 Prasad, Manoj; Taele, Paul; Goldberg, Daniel; Hammond, Tracy A.. HaptiMoto: Turn-by-Turn Haptic Route Guidance Interface for Motorcyclists. Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). pp. 3597-3606. Toronto, Canada. ACM, April 27-May 1 27-1, 2014. Link
Show Abstract:
A national study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau revealed that motorcyclist deaths were nearly thirty times more prevalent than that of drivers of other vehicles. These fatalities represent approximately 5% of all highway deaths each year, yet motorcycles account for only 2% of all registered vehicles in the United States. Motorcyclists are highly exposed on the road, so maintaining situational awareness at all times is crucial. Route guidance systems enable users to efficiently navigate between locations using dynamic visual maps and audio directions, and have been well tested with motorists, but remain unsafe for use by motorcyclists. Audio/visual routing systems decrease motorcyclists’ situational awareness and vehicle control, and thus elevate chances of an accident. To enable motorcyclists to take advantage of route guidance while maintaining situational awareness, we created HaptiMoto, a wearable haptic route guidance system. HaptiMoto uses tactile signals to encode the distance and direction of approaching turns, thus avoiding interference with audio/visual awareness. Our evaluations demonstrate that HaptiMoto is both intuitive and a safer alternative for motorcyclists compared to existing solutions.

Show BibTex
@inproceedings{Prasad:2014:HTH:2611222.2557404,
 author = {Prasad, Manoj and Taele, Paul and Goldberg, Daniel and Hammond, Tracy A.},
 title = {HaptiMoto: Turn-by-turn Haptic Route Guidance Interface for Motorcyclists},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 32Nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
 series = {CHI '14},
 year = {2014},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-2473-1},
 location = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
 pages = {3597--3606},
 numpages = {10},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2556288.2557404},
 doi = {10.1145/2556288.2557404},
 acmid = {2557404},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {advanced traveler information system, route guidance, tactile interface, vibro-tactile}
} 
2014 
PublicationImage
 Prasad, Manoj; Taele, Paul; Olubeko, Ayo; Hammond, Tracy. HaptiGo: A Navigational ‘Tap on the Shoulder’. Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS). pp. 339-345. Houston, TX. IEEE, February 23-26, 2014. Link
Show Abstract:
Complex inter-personal interactions occur in the course of pedestrian navigation. Within familiar environments, prior knowledge helps pedestrians reach their destination seamlessly. However, in unexplored environments or when otherwise engaged, a greater awareness of surroundings or higher cognitive loads are required. We propose HaptiGo, a lightweight haptic vest that provides pedestrians both navigational intelligence and obstacle detection capabilities. HaptiGo consists of optimally-placed vibro- tactile sensors that utilize natural and small form factor interaction cues, thus emulating the invisible sensation of being passively guided towards the intended direction. We evaluated HaptiGo through a study conducted on a group of pedestrians, whom were tasked with navigating through several different waypoints while engaged in cognitively demanding tasks. We found that HaptiGo was able to successfully navigate users with timely alerts of incoming obstacles without increasing cognitive load, thereby increasing their environmental awareness. Additionally, we show that users are able to respond to directional information without training.

Show BibTex
@INPROCEEDINGS{Prasad2014Haptigo,
 author = {Prasad, Manoj and Taele, Paul and Olubeko, Ayobami and Hammond, Tracy},
 booktitle = {Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS), 2014 IEEE},
 title = {HaptiGo: A navigational tap on the shoulder},
 year = {2014},
 pages = {339--345},
 keywords = {haptic interfaces; pedestrians; tactile sensors; HaptiGo; cognitive loads; complex inter-personal 
   interactions; environmental awareness; lightweight haptic vest;navigational intelligence; navigational tap on
   the shoulder; obstacle detection capability; optimally-placed vibrotactile sensors; pedestrian navigation; 
   small form factor interaction cues; Belts; Haptic interfaces; Mobile communication; Navigation;Tactile 
   sensors; Vibrations},
 doi = {10.1109/HAPTICS.2014.6775478},
 month = {Feb}
}
2013 
PublicationImage
 Cummings, Danielle; Prasad, Manoj; Lucchese, George; Aikens, Christopher; Hammond, Tracy. Multi-Modal Location-Aware System for Paratrooper Team Coordination. CHI'13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). pp. 2385-2387. Paris, France. ACM, April 27-May 2, 2013. Link
Show Abstract:
Navigation and assembly are critical tasks for Soldiers in battlefield situations [3]. Paratroopers, in particular, must be able to parachute into a battlefield and locate and assemble their equipment as quickly and quietly as possible. Current assembly methods rely on bulky and antiquated equipment that inhibit the speed and effectiveness of such operations. To address this we have created a multi-modal mobile navigation system that uses ruggedized to mark assembly points and smartphones to assist in navigating to these points while minimizing cognitive load and maximizing situational awareness. To achieve this task, we implemented a novel beacon receiver protocol that allows an infinite number of receivers to listen to the encrypted beaconing message using only ad-hoc Wi-Fi technologies. The system was evaluated by U.S. Army Paratroopers and proved quick to learn and efficient at moving Soldiers to navigation waypoints. Beyond military operations, this system could be applied to any task that requires the assembly and coordination of many individuals or teams, such as emergency evacuations, fighting wildfires or locating airdropped humanitarian aid.

Show BibTex
@inproceedings{CummingsCHI2013,
 author = {Cummings, Danielle and Prasad, Manoj and Lucchese, George and Aikens, Christopher and Hammond, Tracy A.},
 title = {Multi-modal Location-aware System for Paratrooper Team Coordination},
 booktitle = {CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
 series = {CHI EA '13},
 year = {2013},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-1952-2},
 location = {Paris, France},
 pages = {2385--2388},
 numpages = {4},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2468356.2468779},
 doi = {10.1145/2468356.2468779},
 acmid = {2468779},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {ad-hoc networks, location-aware, military applications, user-centered design}
}
2012 
PublicationImage
 Cummings, Danielle; Lucchese, George; Prasad, Manoj; Aikens, Chris; Ho, Jimmy; Hammond, Tracy. GeoTrooper: A Mobile Location-Aware System for Team Coordination. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the NZ Chapter of the ACM's Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction (CHINZ). pp. p.102. Dunedin, New Zealand. ACM, July 2-3, 2012. Link
Show Abstract:
Navigation and assembly are critical tasks for Soldiers in battlefield situations. Soldiers must locate equipment, supplies and teammates quickly and quietly in order to ensure the success of their mission. This task can be extremely difficult and take a significant amount of time without guidance or extensive experience. To facilitate the re-assembly and coordination of airborne paratrooper teams, we have developed a location-aware system that uses an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network in order to broadcast and receive GPS coordinates of equipment and/or rendezvous points. The system consists of beacons, ruggedized computers placed at assembly points that broadcast their position over Wi- Fi, and receivers, handheld Android devices which orient the user towards the beacons and/or any predetermined coordinates.

Show BibTex
@inproceedings{Cummings:2012:GML:2379256.2379286,
 author = {Cummings, Danielle and Lucchese, George and Prasad, Manoj and Aikens, Chris and Ho, Jimmy and Hammond, Tracy},
 title = {GeoTrooper: A Mobile Location-aware System for Team Coordination},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the NZ Chapter of the ACM's Special Interest
   Group on Human-Computer Interaction},
 series = {CHINZ '12},
 year = {2012},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-1474-9},
 location = {Dunedin, New Zealand},
 pages = {102--102},
 numpages = {1},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2379256.2379286},
 doi = {10.1145/2379256.2379286},
 acmid = {2379286},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {location-based system, military applications, mobile-computing}
}
2012 
PublicationImage
 Cummings, Danielle; Lucchese, George; Prasad, Manoj; Aikens, Chris; Ho, Jimmy; Hammond, Tracy. Haptic and AR Interface for Paratrooper Coordination. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the NZ Chapter of the ACM's Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction (CHINZ). pp. 52-55. Dunedin, New Zealand. ACM, July 2-3, 2012. Link
Show Abstract:
Applications that use geolocation data are becoming a common addition to GPS-enabled devices. In terms of mobile computing, there is extensive research in progress to create human-computer interfaces that integrate seamlessly with the user’s tasks. When viewing location-based data in a real-world environment, a natural interaction would be to allow the user to see relevant information based on his or her location within an environment. In this paper, we discuss the use of a multi-modal interface that uses haptic feedback and augmented reality to deliver navigation information to paratroopers in the field. This interface was developed for GeoTrooper, a location-based tracking system that visualizes GPS data broadcast by mobile beacons.

Show BibTex
@inproceedings{Cummings:2012:HAI:2379256.2379265,
 author = {Cummings, Danielle and Lucchese, George and Prasad, Manoj and Aikens, Chris and Ho, Jimmy and Hammond, Tracy},
 title = {Haptic and AR Interface for Paratrooper Coordination},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the NZ Chapter of the ACM's Special Interest
   Group on Human-Computer Interaction},
 series = {CHINZ '12},
 year = {2012},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-1474-9},
 location = {Dunedin, New Zealand},
 pages = {52--55},
 numpages = {4},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2379256.2379265},
 doi = {10.1145/2379256.2379265},
 acmid = {2379265},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {location-based system, military applications, mobile-computing}
}

Sponsors

SponsorImage
CSSG Study: Operation Geotroopers: Gaining Time and Maneuverability on the Drop Zone
DARPA, IPTO Office
2010-09-01 - 2011-08-31, $147,733
PI: Tracy Hammond
SponsorImage
Hand-Tracking Recognition Course
Rockwell Collins Charitable Contributions University Allocations
2009-07-01 - 2010-06-30, $30,000
PI: Tracy Hammond