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New talk and touch system reads maps and diagrams

Tue, 07/31/2012 - 10:59 -- admin

B.B.C., United Kingdom

Almost every subject has diagrams, charts and graphics, or artwork. Normally, these graphics and diagrams are largely inaccessible to a visually impaired learner and totally inaccessible to a blind student. Now, T3 or Talking Tactile Technology will make lots of such information accessible.

Herefordshire's Royal National College for the Blind (R.N.C.B.), U.K. has created a new talk and touch system to help students use maps, charts and diagrams.

The T 3 technology uses a laptop, CD programme and touchable icons to make information accessible. When the user presses the symbols, icons and regions of the tactile surface, audio information describes what the user is feeling. Another feature of this technology is that any subject can be converted by the programme.

For instance, through a programmed talking tactile atlas, the user can listen to data about any part of the world. When more localised information is required, the user is instructed to insert the relevant map for that country or region, and then guided to move his or her finger by audio instructions such as ’go south’ or ’go west’ until the required destination is reached.

Mr. Ian Beverley, Braille Technology Trainer at R.N.C.B. said: "I would describe it as sensational as it allows visually impaired students to access learning resources with senses other than vision."

The team working on this project said trials are also showing the device may have benefits for other groups including people with dyslexia.

The college is working on this project in association with Touch Graphics, New York, and Anglia Polytechnic University, U.K.

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