Tartter colloquium abstract

Toward a Dynamic Tactile Tablet: Graphic Space Perception in Different Modalities

Blind and visually impaired people have been increasingly isolated from advances in dynamic visual graphics employed in sophisticated multimedia. Developing a programmable touch screen, one that deforms to convey visual graphic information to the fingertips, would help bring this information to the visually impaired. The talk will review broadly the paradoxical relationship between technology and disability, and then consider how vision, touch and to some extent hearing, render the relative position of objects and how that serves cognitive organization. Pilot data from visually impaired focus groups and sighted but visually blocked and visually impaired users on textured patterns will be presented. We speculate that our different modalities offer only partially redundant views of space and that translating from one to the other will require more sophisticated transforms than pixel to protuberance.