Positioned strategically near the main entrance to the new Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology, this multi-sensory exhibit helps visitors to Perkins sprawling campus get oriented. The model rests on a 3-foot square pedestal that users approach from North, South, East or West. As people touch it, the model responds in a variety of ways, so that almost any person can comfortably operate and learn from this public map and directory system. The model is an example of Universal Design, which requires products to be usable across multiple audiences.
Using a patent-pending method for sensing pressure on irregularly-shaped surfaces, the system responds by speaking names, descriptions, and walking directions for any of 50 destinations reachable on foot from Grousbeck Center. While the model is epoxy-coated in durable monochromatic silver, it is visually brought to life by an overhead video projector that “paints” the surface with light. Users can adjust settings, consult an alphabetical index and even compete with up to three friends in a fast-paced game that challenges them to demonstrate their familiarity with the campus.
Perkins’ newsletter article about this model.
This project is was carried out by Touch Graphics under contract to Perkins School for the Blind, in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design (RERC UD), Part of the IDeA Center, University at Buffalo. Partial funding is from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation (NIDRR), United States Department of Education.