Robot Braille: Combining tactile and visual Narratives

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


People experience spaces differently according to who they are – their social, cultural and economic background, but most importantly, their abilities to process visual and tactile information. As has been argued, we experience space with all our senses (Rasmussen1964; Pallasmaa 2005), yet Western culture is dominated by vision (Classen 1998:2; Pallasmaa 2005). In this context, the built environment can contribute to a more equal, inclusive and cohesive society if the places where we live, the facilities we use and our neighbourhoods and meeting places are designed to be accessible and inclusive, and users with different abilities can be made comfortable and feel that a particular space or place belongs to them (Design Council 2008). More inclusive environments can be provided by designs that offer a range of sensory triggers for people with different sensory capacities to navigate and enjoy space (Herssens, Heylighen 2012).

This paper discusses empirical research into the robotic milling of patterned textures, based on combined visual (pictorial) and tactile information (Braille) as narratives for urban spaces. In the surface patterning, graphic images are displayed through depth, with gradients of shades translate to darker and lighter areas in a pixelated picture. Tactile information such as text is displayed through Braille coding, as a sequence of engrained/subtracted points (pixels).

The research project aims to develop a simple, inexpensive system where touching or exploring a tactile element is integrated with a ‘hidden’ conveyed message that can only be read by the experienced (Braille). The paper reports on different levels of integration, from
a) level 1: computational control for image sources (visual) to robot tooling path, with varying point grid, tools applications and robotic angle;
b) level 2: integration and coding of Braille as tactile information for surfaces that are accessible to blind and low vision audience;
c) level 3: a series of designs and robotic fabrication of prototypes for urban furniture and infrastructures as combined narratives for tactile/visual experiences.

The project is developed with The Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted (IBOS). The paper discusses an initial test series and concludes with a future research trajectory whereby an audio segment can be robotically fabricated on demand, as an instant transfer from spoken word to haptic surface texture.

Publikationsdato11 sep. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 11 sep. 2019
BegivenhedTallinn Architecture Biennale 2019: Space and Digital Reality - Estonian Center for Architecture, Tallinn, Estland
Varighed: 11 sep. 2019 → …


KonferenceTallinn Architecture Biennale 2019
LokationEstonian Center for Architecture
Periode11/09/2019 → …

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

  • Nej