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Self-describing tactile catalogs have a twofold mission: they help enrich the curricula and empower blind children to explore independently. They contain graphics of objects cannot be explored in real life, such as a fly, a yacht, or even portraits.

Because blind children can explore them independently, the catalogs are valuable teaching and studying materials. They can be explored both at school or in class.

  1. What are self-describing catalogs?
  2. The Tactile Images catalogs

a) The “Urban Landscapes” catalog
b) The “Portraits” catalog
c) The “Vehicles” catalog
d) The “Electric Network” catalog

1. What are self-describing catalogs?

Self-describing catalogs contain self-describing tactile images, embossed tactile graphics that can be explored independently. You can find out more about tactile images here.

Each catalog of self-describing images revolves around a theme, depicting people, very small or big objects people cannot touch and acts as a schoolbook. The catalogs can be used by teachers in class and by blind children to learn about a specific topic.

The catalogs are called self-describing because blind people can explore them independently. Exploring can be done in two different ways. One, with any smartphone and a Screen Reader app through the QR Code. Two, with the READER app, created especially for the reading of tactile images. Find out more about the difference between the two ways of exploring in this article.

The READER app plays the role of the specialist over the shoulder. It guides the hands of the blind on the graphic and gives audio information simultaneously. Anyone can download the app free of charge at this link. The READER app is momentarily available only for the iPhone. You can help us develop the Android version by donating.

We also thought of a way of manually embossing tactile graphics for anyone to try at home. It’s easy and inexpensive. You only need some wood adhesive, a syringe, and a little bit of patience. Just watch these videos and learn!

2. The three Tactile Images catalogs

a) The “Urban Landscapes” catalog

Meet the first self-describing tactile catalog ever created. We are proud to say that we created it last year with the aid of ING Bank Romania.

We chose the topic of each tactile drawing through the online campaign #candinchiziochii (#whenyoucloseyoureyes), launched by our funder, ING Bank Romania. People had to write about their favorite place in the city, a dear place they can explore with their eyes closed.

The catalog contains 50 images depicting urban landscapes. We created and donated 14 catalogs to the seven schools for the blind in Romania – two catalogs for each school.

All you have to do is access this link if you want to get your self-describing catalog.

b) The “Portraits” catalog

The catalog contains portraits of Romanian historical personalities that are already available in our online LIBRARY and can be downloaded free of charge.

The portraits’ theme is Romania’s Centenary (1918 – 2018) and The First World War, and we created them in 2019. They all have lengthy and informative descriptions, created with the aid of the Historical Consulting Center in Bucharest. You can enter the LIBRARY and browse the 150 portraits.

We want to thank the Ministry of Culture and the National Cultural Fund Administration for supporting this initiative and being close to us throughout the process.

Do you want to explore a large number of portraits? Download the self-describing tactile catalog here.

c) The “Vehicles” catalog

This self-describing catalog focuses on the means of transportation. The catalog is about big objects people cannot relate to through touch. It offers the blind the chance to explore bicycles, cars, trucks, and even yachts.

We want to thank OMV Petrom for its support with this project.

Do you want to explore a large number of means of transportation? Download the self-describing tactile catalog here.

d) The ”Electric Network” catalog

This catalog teaches blind people about electricity-based concepts and important personalities in the field. With it, blind people can find out how power plants, light bulbs, or personalities look like on their own. Get your self-describing catalog here!

We thank Electrica S.A. for helping us create the “Tactile Network” catalog.

If you want to help us facilitate access to spatial education for blind children, donate to improve the mobile app for independent study or help us create more catalogs!
Do you have any questions about our self-describing tactile catalogs? Write in the comment section below!

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