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Subspecialties Other, Basic & Translational Research

Image of the Month

Image credit: Murielle Gerber, EPFL, 2017.

Seeing by Touch

As part of the Blindpad project, researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, have developed a touch display to help people with visual impairment find their way around unfamiliar places, interact with data, perform navigation tasks and even play games. The portable 192-“taxel” (tactile element) Bluetooth-enabled wireless haptic display can communicate with a phone or tablet. It represents graphical information as dynamic relief patterns that the user explores with their fingertips; each taxel can move up or down in under 10 milliseconds. The user can also push down raised taxels to interact with the display, meaning that they can perform tasks like zooming and panning on an image or a map. Coupled with a camera, the device can even display real-time information about a room layout.

For more info on the device visit:

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