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If there is something we learnt from the coronavirus pandemic is that now, more than ever, children with visual impairments need accessible materials and a teacher next to them. They need someone to teach them how the world looks.

Without access to boarding schools, the home of every visually impaired child would turn into a school, one without a teacher and materials. This is because PowerPoint presentations are not an option for blind children and because online learning is more a barrier than a chance to grow.

Traditionally, children with visual impairments have to move to a boarding school to have access to education. It’s a painful process that keeps them away from the warmth of their families and obliges them to mature too fast.

Now, with the help of the Tactile Images mobile assistant, that identifies the position of the finger on a drawing with raised surfaces and describes audibly what the children are touching, it’s as if every child would have a personal teacher at home. The virtual assistant allows them to study when and for how long they want, provided that they have a stable internet connection.

After 10 years of research, we know that the teacher is not the only educational need for children with visual impairments. They also need special and embossed materials to explore with their hands. That is why we created 6 interactive tactile catalogs tackling various themes such such as historical personalities, geography, biology or urban landscapes. You can download the self-describing catalogs here.

Now there’s another problem: the embossing process. How are we going to emboss the drawings from the catalogs we downloaded? We are now working to fix this problem, and we have as a great helper the Orange Foundation. Together we are creating 4 Do It Yourself printers. Anyone will be able to build such a printer at home following a free online manual.

Until we finalize the creation of the printers, you can emboss the drawings at home, using simple tools such as a syringe and wood adhesive. Discover cheap embossing techniques in this article!

During this year we managed to gather 160 users from around the globe (the North of Europe, Asia, USA) on the Tactile Images platform, users who are now creating drawings in the dedicated software. You can also join. Sign up here and enjoy!

Do you have any questions about tactile graphics? Write in the comment section below!

Image source: Unsplash

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