Interactive Visualization System for Blind

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Each year possibilities for blind people increase with the help of high technologies. They make such people more adaptable to the changing world and help them to orientate in their everyday life without any assistant.

The German scientists from Hasso Plattner Institute have worked out a Linespace that is a sense making platform for the blind. It looks like a touchable 140x100cm display with a build-in 3D printer that draws tactile lines on the board. There is also the footswitch that the blind people use for typing the text and giving commands to the computer.

The Linespace system is based on 3D printing methods where the print head creates tactile lines from liquid PLA plastic. The blind touches this line with his fingerprints and percepts the complex information that have been available only for sighted people before.  

Thus the specialists have developed special software like homefinder program, a spreadsheet program that can read and write Microsoft Excel and two simple games that can be used on the base of the Linespace. The peculiarity of the system is that it uses panning and zooming allowing blind users to stay always within their spatial reference system.

Now scientists think of a mobile version of the sensemaking platform. And maybe in several years tablet computers for the blind will be launched that will scan and draw the route of their movement, search and draw the needed data in any place they are.


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