Drawings produced by computers can turn into raised lined (embossed) graphics for the visually impaired. The most effective software applications for computer generated tactile graphics are those that contain scalable vector graphic (SVG) components, such as: lines, shapes, freeform drawing tools, beizer drawing tools, arrows, patterns, shapes fill, and line weight.
Software that contain these components are the best tools to use when producing computer generated tactile graphics. Third-party software containing mainly SVG tools are: Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, and Microsoft Office (Word and PowerPoint). These applications can be used to produce tactile graphic illustrations for science, math, geography, and business classes.
Drawing that look like a picture are called bitmaps. These drawing applications may not have SVG drawing components, however, they can be used to produce tactile graphics if a swell (encapsulated) paper device is doing the embossing. Swell paper devices are: Tactile Image Enhancer (TIE) or Picture-In-A-Flash (PIAF).
The problem with bitmap drawing applications is line weight. Tiger embossers can only determine bitmap line weight at 1 point even if the line on the drawing appears to be thicker. Scalable vector drawings lines can be determined as either being 1, 3 or 6 points by a Tiger embosser. Having these line thickness options can provide more opportunity to draw detailed tactile graphic illustrations.
Here are a few tutorials that show how you can produce computer generated line drawings for embossing either by Tiger embossers or swell paper devices.
Compiled by Judi Piscitello, TVI, COMS ( email@example.com), New York State School for the Blind Outreach Department; in conjunction with Monika K. Rieger, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, The University of Calgary; Terry Maggiore, TVI, COMS ( email@example.com), Massachusetts; and Robert S. Jaquiss, Jr., Executive director, VIEW International Foundation.
Adapted Graphics Listserv
The Adapted Graphics List's purpose is to discuss graphics designed for people who are blind or visually impaired. This includes the development of tactile graphics, and other types of information design for folks who are blind or visually impaired.
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Adobe®Illustrator® Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) drawing software program to produce tactile graphics:
Produces illustrations, graphics and spatial representations adapted to touch recognition for people who are blind using a “Graphtact” prototype printer designed to produce standardized tactile designs. Braille Jymico also produces a computerized aluminum master to create Thermoform copies.
Fingerprints books are original or retellings of classic tales, with quality tactile illustrations designed to be accessible and understandable to a blind person. Fingerprints' books are designed by volunteers and are available free of charge or at a reasonable cost. Contributions to production means are sought through institutions and other interest groups. When it is otherwise not possible to offer the books free of charge, the book will be similar in cost of a children's book.
Model A Technology
2420 Van Landen Way
Modesto, California 95356
(209) 575-3445; fax: (209) 575-2750
A wide variety of construction sets, some very sophisticated, including pneumatic, robotic, and computer interface components.
401 West Hickory Street
P.O. Box 2121
Fort Collins, Colorado 80522
(800) 289-9299; fax: (970) 484-1198
A variety of items including a large collection of raised relief maps, useful for showing the actual shape of land areas and are a valuable adjunct to Braille maps.
iFeelPixel™is a software application designed to create audio-tactile sensations based on image. Any pictures generated by your computer and being under your cursor position on screen are represented with a subjective audio-tactile sensation on an Immersion TouchSense device and a sound card. It's the first software that allows a user to feel the pixels on the screen with both haptic and auditory feedback.
Art History Through Touch and Soundbook with tactile graphics, Braille embossers, braille displays, braille labelers, braille paper, braille translation software, braille writers and braille marking products, Head Start Set of Books with Tactile Images and Braille,raised line drawing kit and polyester film sheets, Mimio Xi electronic whiteboard (diagrams can be sent to a Tiger Embosser), tactile maps, VTPlayer tactile device for Windows PCs
The new ViewPlus IVEO Technology is intended as a mainstream method for displaying graphical information that is universally accessible. The IVEO Viewer can be downloaded free from the ViewPlus web site, and is used with the IVEO hardware to make graphical information accessible to blind people. The Viewer permits a user to mouse-click on objects and hear labels read, identifying those objects. Any text can also be spoken by mouse-clicking. B lind users can print from the Viewer to any ViewPlus embosser to obtain a tactile copy of the graphic, place it on the IVEO Touchpad and use fingers to locate objects and text and mouse click to hear them. All spoken information can also be read with an on-line Braille display. IVEO documents are in Scalable Vector Graphic format. The IVEO Creator is used to import files from any Windows application or by scanning paper documents, make them accessible, and then save as IVEO SVG. Creator automatically makes all of the text accessible, so a blind user can gain access to many otherwise inaccessible documents without any assistance from a sighted person. If graphical object labels are essential, then a sighted person needs to click on objects to open a dialog box for adding labels and optional descriptive information.
Use the MathType equation editor to insert math into MS Word documents. Just click on the "export to math page" menu option in the MathType menu after selecting the MathML option. This gives a XML page that can then be read with any screen reader. Use Internet Explorer and the free MathPlayer plugin from Design Science, the same people who make MathType. If your student doesn't have a screen reader and has enough vision not to require something like Jaws, use TextHelp. It's inexpensive and excellent.
3 Townline Circle,
Rochester, NY 14623-2513
(585) 427-8260; Fax: (585) 427-0263
A membership organization for Braille transcribers. NBA membership includes quarterly newsletters that contain articles on improving tactile graphics, workshops and handouts regarding tactile graphics.
Conference programme, proceedings, and abstracts for the 1st and 2nd Conference on Tactile Diagrams, Maps and Pictures. Best practice guidelines for the design, production and presentation of vacuum formed tactile maps – Ann Gardiner and Chris Perkins.
5 South Street (PO Box 390)
Rydalmere NSW 2116, Australia
+61 2 8844 9888 / Fax +61 2 9684 4717
Mountbatten Brailler, braille displays, braille embossers, braille notetakers and personal data assistants, scanning and OCR software/hardware, Pictures in a Flash (PIAF), Woolly Pen tactile drawing kit
Making science, math, and engineering information accessible to people with print disabilities. Products developed in the Science Access Project include the Tiger Tactile Graphics and Braille Embosser, the Accessible Graphing Calculator, and TRIANGLE, a fully accessible DOS program for reading and doing math and science.
SensibleGraphics' aim is to increase the availability and use of adapted graphics for the blind and visually impaired. This is done by making graphics available online. Graphics are free to use for nonprofit purposes. Various organizations and individuals have supplied graphics for this site. Graphics are provided as are. Feel free to adapt them. Support is not provided for the graphics.
Tactile Graphics Designer (TGD) develops software to enable design and use of tactile graphics and tactile audio graphics, especially for blind and low vision users. Tactile graphic + Sound = Tagraphic. Design tools are TGD QikTac, TGD Pro and - TGD Workshop with integrated Braille and tactile graphics in a multimedia setting of touch and sound. AudioBraille in Workshop leads to Braille learning including graphics on the same page. AudioPIX, in Workshop leads to speech and sound enhanced tactile images - physics, math, geography; any subject and also for just plain 'fun'.
Tactile Colour System of textured vinyl stick-on sheets in twelve bold colors, each with a distinctive texture, used for tactile diagrams -plus: Colour identification cards with raised print and Braille, Greeting cards, Shaped identification stickers, Jigsaw puzzles, Maps to order, Memory cards
461 North Service Rd., W., Unit B11
Oakville, Ontario, Canada L6M 2V5
(905) 465-0755, Fax (905) 465-1334
Raised printing for tactile graphics and braille, produced from hard copy originals or electronic files supplied by the customer, from materials available in Tactile Vision files or from designs commissioned by organizations or individuals. Applications include maps, calendars, books, business and greeting cards, labels and a wide range of teaching materials.
Nomad is a touch sensitive pad that can be connected to a PC running MENTOR software. Draw shapes on a piece of paper lying on the pad to be reproduced by the software on the computer screen. The paper can then be put in an embosser and the screen image embossed over it. The resulting Tactile Graphic can then be positioned back on the Nomad pad for further work.
A variety of hardware and software (refreshable braille products, braille embossers, braille translation software, tactile imaging products, accessories, etc.) from various manufacturers, as used (demo/loan) products at a discount
Terrifically Tacky Tape and other products for Tactile Graphics:
Online resource listing, including sources of materials, directions on creating object books, a listing of books, videos, journal articles, web sites, documents and human resources for preparing and teaching the use of quality tactile graphics. Lots of information about tactile graphics all over the TSBVI site!
Tiger printers and embossers that print braille and tactile graphics (including 3-D) direct from mainstream Windows software, DotsPlus® braille font for braille math, the Accessible Graphing Calculator (AGC) that facilitates mathematics accessibility through audio or braille.
The Virtual Touch System (VTS) enables remote tactile and audio access for Windows graphics and text through direct feedback from the computer screen. VTS, with its VirTouch Player and Mouse, also enables the drawing of graphics and displays text tactually in regular alphabets and braille as well as providing audio feedback.
Aldrich, F.K., Sheppard, L. & Hindle, Y. "First steps towards a model of tactile graphicacy", British Journal of Visual Impairment, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp62 - 67, May 2002.
Sheppard, L & Aldrich F.K. "Tactile graphics in school education: perspectives from teachers," British Journal of Visual Impairment, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp93 - 97, Sept 2001.
Aldrich, F.K. & Sheppard, L."Tactile graphics in school education: perspectives from pupils," British Journal of Visual Impairment, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp69 - 73, May 2001.
Sheppard, L & Aldrich F.K. "Tactile graphics: A beginner's guide to graphics for visually impaired children," Primary Science Review, Vol. 65, pp29 - 30, Nov - Dec 2000.
Aldrich, F.K. & Sheppard, L. "Graphicacy: the fourth 'r'?", Primary Science Review, Vol. 64, pp8-11, Sept - Oct 2000.
Presenters Janice Walth
San Joaqin Delta College
Disable Students Programs and Services
5151 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, California 95207
Ted Wattenberg, M.S., C.R.C.
San Joaqin Delta College
Disable Students Programs and Services
5151 Pacific Ave.|
Stockton, California 95207
SCHNEIDER, J., TH. STROTHOTTE, "Virtual Tactile Maps", in: H.-J. Bullinger, J. Ziegler (eds.), Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces, Proc. HCI Int'l. '99 Vol. 1, Mahwah, NJ & London 1999.