A tactile input/output tablet giving the blind access to graphic information

Jörg Fricke, Helmut Bähring, Anna-Maria Jahn
Informatique 92, Interface to Real & Virtual Worlds, Montpellier - France, March 23-27, 1992

Abstract: Using electrorheological fluids, tactile graphic input/output tablets for the blind can be constructed which overcome certain problems of state-of-the-art technology and meet most specifications of an ideal tablet. Such tablets will be a valuable support for blind people reading text illustrated with drawings, reading maps, participating in scientific education, using electronic communication media, creating drawings, or using software with graphic user interfaces. Because they offer touch sensitivity there is no need for additional graphic input devices. The same technology can be used to construct flexible arrays of vibrating display elements used as part of mobility aid systems. Moving in a virtual reality environment with the help of such systems could prepare blind people for the outdoor environment.

Keyword: tactile graphic screen, tactile input/output tablet, electrorheological fluid, ERF, graphic user interface, reading aid, mobility aid.