What is BlindPAD for?

Till today blind children at school did not have enough solutions to learn crucial disciplines such as geometry and science. We built a tactile tablet made of hundreds ‘taxels’, that are the tactile equivalent of the pixels. Images are transformed into tactile representations. We have also developed a set of games, to be used within rehabilitation procedures. We tested our prototypes with people with visual disability. We found that BlindPAD improves their sense of space and their knowledge about unknown places. It is an interactive technology that can display in real time maps, graphics, and symbols, which is what is needed at school age and beyond. If Braille is used for text, BlindPAD can now be used for graphics. We plan to make it a real product, to be used in schools, rehabilitation centers and ultimately at home.

Final review meeting

The consortium has met in Genoa, Italy, for the final Review Meeting. We discussed the final project goals and had a demo session together with our Project Office, the Reviewers from the European Commission, involving also end users.

Left-to-right: Diego Torazza (IIT), Giulio Sandini (IIT), Piotr Witek (FIRR), Aleksander Waskielewicz (FIRR), Davide Dellepiane (IIT), Luca Brayda (IIT, coordinator), Elena Cocchi (Chiossone), Attila Agoston (Ateknea), Franco Bertora (IIT), Elisabetta Capris (Chiossone), Herbert Shea (EPFL), Claudia Vigini (Chiossone), Fabrizio Leo (IIT), Elisabetta Ferrari (IIT), Michael Gerhard (Geomobile), Caterina Baccelliere (IIT), Mariacarla Memeo (IIT), Maria Carmela Fierro (IIT).

Materials used in a Spatial Learning Skills study

Here we report an extract of the materials, methods and results used in a study with blind and visually impaired children. To read more, download the paper.

A: Child performing the tactile symbol recognition test. B: Tactile symbol recognition and enumeration in noise test. C: Memory spanning of sequences of tactile symbols test.

A: Experimental setup with a tactile display on the left side and the PC running PadDraw software on the right side. Picture shows an example of trial of the spatial memory test. B: Spatial memory test with 4×4 matrix and 4 targets. C: Shapes recognition test with a rectangle (top-left) as target and three distractors.

Possible geometrical shapes of the shapes recognition test. The first row from the top shows the three possible canonical shapes. The rows from the second to the fourth show the possible distractors. Each row from the second to the fourth shows one of the three possible levels of difficulty of distractors in decreasing order (3,2,1).

Normalized accuracy enhancement (SEM indicated) across sessions in the shapes recognition test (A) and in the spatialmemory test (B) using programmable tactile displays. Asterisks indicate a significantly larger accuracy enhancement relative to the baseline (* P<0.05)

Reference:
Leo, F., Cocchi, E., & Brayda, L. (2017). The Effect of Programmable Tactile Displays on Spatial Learning Skills in Children and Adolescents of Different Visual Disability. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering25(7), 861-872.
 
Download the paper PDF here

Makerstown in Bruxelles

At the Makerstown the first qualitive results of the experiments in Poland with the 12×16 BlindPAD was presented. Also, the proto1 was demonstrated onsite.