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Multimedia Mobile Devices and Obstacle Types Induced the Action and Perception of Walking Through Aperture
Walking through narrow space in the environment is the most common situation of human movements. Maintained clear detecting ability is helpful for accurately perceiving the possibility of walking through aperture. However, while multimedia mobile devices bring convenience to daily life, it may negatively affect user’s behavior and safety under inappropriate use. Based on ecological psychology approach, this study was designed to examine the impacts of the operations of mobile devices, obstacle types, distraction activities, and cognitive load on the perception and performance of walking through apertures. Eighty-four adults were recruited and randomly assigned to 6 treatment groups and 1 control group. The treatment groups include: (1) a hands-free cell phone conversation and the autobiographical recall task, (2) a hands-free cell phone conversation and the mental arithmetic task, (3) a hand phone conversation and the autobiographical recall task, (4) a hand phone conversation and the mental arithmetic task, (5) the autobiographical recall task by texting, and (6) the mental arithmetic task by texting. In addition to control group, all participants were required to use the smart phone in the specified operation and walk through apertures formed by humans or poles. Critical point for walking through aperture was calculated by minimum aperture width and participant’s shoulder width. Kinematic datum, including walking velocities, the degrees of shoulder rotation, and safety margin were measured by using the 3-D motion capture system. Finally, working load about experimental task assessed by NASA-Task Load Index. The findings suggested that: (1) Obstacle types affected the affordances of walking through aperture, and the various indicators of crossing behavior in addition to the angle of shoulder rotation. The operations of mobile devices affected the walking velocities and the relative time of shoulder rotation appearance; and (2) the critical point of walking through aperture was affected by the mobile phone operation–distractions or obstacle types. The cognitive loading of communication content affected the angle of shoulder rotation and workload index.
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