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Do you have tactile materials at home, created for the study of the blind? It can be sheets, illustrations, books, maps or catalogs. Now you can resort to the digitization of tactile materials to encourage the individual study and independence of the blind. 

 

Regardless of the embossing technique of the tactile material, digitization is possible on the e-learning platform tactileimages.org. Whether it’s Braille books, swell paper illustrations or DIY catalogs, they can all be digitized just as easily. 

 

It is simple, you will find everything about the digitization of tactile materials, the effort that comes to support the individual study of the blind, in this article!

 

What are the steps you need to take? 

1. Transform the materials in the EDITOR

a) Take the picture

b) Invitation and registration

c) Add new images

d) Add the QR Code

e) Add areas of interest

f) Add text in each area of interest

g) Translate

2. Print your newly created tactile graphic

3. Make time for embossing

4. Download the Tactile Images READER App

1. Transform the materials in the EDITOR

a) Take the picture

 

First of all, you need to take a picture of your tactile material. You do not need a high-performance camera, your phone is just fine. You have to make sure, however, that you take the picture straight, parallel, and that you have a border around it, a frame that you will use as a space for the QR Code.

b) Invitation and registration

The EDITOR is the place where you upload the photo of your tactile material. To be able to access the EDITOR on the e-learning platform free of charge, you need an invitation, which you can request here. Then, you receive the user account by email, which you use to register at editor.tactileimages.org.

 

 

c) Add new images

 

Each image will be uploaded to the online LIBRARY, where there is a wide variety of tactile graphics available. After adding, write the name of the board and the tags – all in English. Make sure the image corresponds to the A4 format, is a PNG and has a maximum size of 2MB!

d) Add the QR Code

The QR Code is the link between the content you add online and the Tactile Images READER App, which you will find out more about below. There is a dedicated website that does exactly that: it generates such QR Codes. Go to the website, create your custom code, download it and make sure you save it as a PNG file with dimension 200×200! 

 

After you add the QR code, you have a section where you can add information about your tactile graphic. It can be a whole story, it can be scientific explanations, it can be whatever you want. This information will be communicated to the viewer by the App through voice-over.

e) Add areas of interest

Areas of interest are segments that you pre-set to add text, which will be uttered by the App to the user, via voice-over. You can make them smaller and bigger, you can add as many as you want, depending on the image. Keep in mind, though: you have to make sure they don’t overlap! 

 

To add a new area, you must click on the grey area, and if you are wrong and want to delete an area, you have a trash bin in the upper right corner of your area. 

 

Have you defined all the areas you want? It means it’s time to move on to the next step!

f) Add Text

Here you have the freedom to choose exactly what the viewer will learn. Each text you add must be correlated with the area of ​​interest chosen in the previous step. You can add as much text as you want, just click on the area and a pop-up will appear, where you can type. Save and you’re done! 

 

Before proceeding, make sure you have added text to each selected area. It’s easy to identify areas that already have text, they are coloured in blue.

 

g) Translate

 

For now, you can translate the text into English or Romanian, but we intend to add many more languages in the future. And that’s why we need you. If you want to help us develop this module faster, you can donate for the education of the blind. 

2. Print your newly created tactile graphic

You just need a normal printer to print out your newly created tactile board.

3. Make time for embossing

Tactile graphics can be embossed in several ways. You can use swell paper or thermoforming, but if you do not have access to any of them at home, you can emboss with DIY techniques. We will teach you how. It’s simple and inexpensive! You need syringes and materials like adhesive, glue or food. 

We are building a DIY PRINTER, which works with a syringe and adhesive system. Once finished, we will also provide you with a manual, so you can create it yourself, at home, and print as many tactile graphics as you want.

4. Download the Tactile Images READER App

Do not forget to download the Tactile Images READER App from the App Store. The App is our specialist, the over-the-shoulder person who speaks directly to the blind. With its help, blind people can learn on their own whatever they want, as long as they have tactile graphics, a smartphone and an Internet connection. In addition to the ones you digitalized, you will find a collection of different drawings in the online LIBRARY. You can download as many tactile graphics you want from there.

Now you know how to digitize any tactile material in the EDITOR. It can be a sheet, book, illustration or catalog that you already have. You can add as many areas of interest you want and any text. After you print and emboss it with DIY techniques, the App handles the rest. That’s how the blind can enjoy independent learning!

Do you have any questions about digitizing tactile graphics? Leave us your suggestions or concerns in the comment section below!

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