Studying tactile graphics is and has always been a complex process. For blind people to have access to visual content, expensive materials, time, and specialized persons are required. Because this significantly slows down the educational process of blind children and, by extension, the development of their professional and social life, we are here to empower parents and teachers and make visual education for the blind easy, fast and inexpensive.
Our solution? An e-learning platform that includes:
- a mobile app that can be used by the blind to study tactile graphics with QR Codes attached independently
- a LIBRARY with 800 self-describing tactile graphics that can be explored independently with the mobile app
- an EDITOR which allows teachers and parents of blind children to create their own tactile graphics
ideas on manually embossing tactile graphics
Read on if you want to find out why this solution will change the visual education of the blind forever!
1. It’s easy to use
a) The independent study of tactile graphics
Studying tactile graphics independently does not have to be complicated. Here’s what you need:
- a tactile graphic with a QR Code attached, which you can download for free from the Tactile Images LIBRARY
- the READER mobile app, which you can download for free from the App Store
- access to the Internet
- an iPhone*
The exploration process is simple. All you have to do is place the embossed tactile graphic underneath the mobile phone. The READER app does not have any buttons, and it does not require interaction. All you have to do is make sure that the app can read the QR code on the tactile graphic once, at the beginning. Then, you are free to explore.
Move your finger around the graphic. When you hear one beep, stop. It means that you reached an area of interest, an area that contains information. Stay there for a few seconds, and the audio description will start. Once it’s over, you can continue exploring other areas of interest.
*For now, the reader app is only available for iOS, but the content available on self-describing tactile graphics can also be read using a Screen Reader app, available on any smartphone. The difference is that while with the READER app, the position of the blind person’s hand is identified and guided, while a smartphone can only read the content on the graphic.
The mobile app is available only for the iPhone because it is currently at the Alpha stage. Our dream is to make it available for Android, as well. If you want to support our dream and help us empower the blind, you can donate here.
b) The creation of personalized tactile graphics
It’s now time to talk about creating personalized tactile graphics. We made the EDITOR, especially for parents and teachers of blind children, to allow them to create their materials and help blind children explore independently and enrich their knowledge of the world. Fill out this form to gain free access to the EDITOR and learn how to create your own self-describing tactile graphic by either digitizing materials you already have or by adapting graphics in the library to the knowledge level of your children.
2. It speeds up the learning process
Traditionally, a blind child can only gain visual knowledge in the presence of another person, who has to guide his hand on the graphic and give verbal information simultaneously. This takes up a lot of a teacher’s or parent’s time, who has to be patient for the blind child to explore and understand the content of the tactile graphic.
With self-describing tactile graphics and the READER app, the specialist – teacher or parent, gains time, as the blind child explores independently. He can explore a graphic at his own pace without requiring the time of another person. Because he does not rely on the time and availability of another person, the blind child can now learn faster about visual content.
3. It’s an inexpensive method
Embossing a tactile graphic is expensive. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why blind children do not have access to visual information – their parents do not have the necessary money to invest in specialized equipment such as PIAF printers.
This is why we came up with a manual technique any person can use to emboss tactile graphics. You only need things you can find at home, such as a syringe, some wooden adhesive, and food. In this way, the embossing of a tactile graphic costs less than $1. You can learn more about the embossing methods here!