The chapters it contains notably review advances that were achieved within the multidisciplinary European project Natural Interactive Walking. Through the development of new technologies for enhancing spaces, floors, and footwear in ways that allow them to provide simulated experiences of attributes of everyday walking surfaces, the research covered here attempts to enable the designers of new technological systems to engender a real sense of ``being there'', particularly through the use of data coming from the haptic (touch) and auditory (sound) perceptual channels, or in tandem with them. It illustrates how knowledge about the ways that users experience their surroundings during walking can be used to create perceptually rich and plausible experiences of walking in diverse natural and man-made environments.
This work may lead to radically new approaches to interaction with digital information, for example in airports, railway stations, public urban spaces, or in virtual environments used for immersive training purposes. It could, for example, be applied to the creation of intuitive navigation aids, such as landmarking, guidance to locations of interest, ``eyes-free'' signaling, and warning about obstacles and restricted areas. Such research may also open the door to the creation of better assistive tools for visually-impaired and other special-needs users.
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