Philly School to Get Map For the Visually Impaired

The Overbrook School for the Blind could soon have one of these innovative maps.

Photo credit: Touch Graphics.

Photo credit: Touch Graphics.

Next City just published a cool article about Touch Graphics, a company that creates maps using “multi-sensory display techniques” to help the visually impaired get around.

Rachel Dovey who spoke to TG’s research director Steve Landau says the company recently showcased one of their models to a school in Massachusetts:

Take a recently unveiled 3D model at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, showing a mini version of the campus, complete with buildings, lakes and streets. Students and visitors use their hands to navigate its touch-sensitive surface (covered in conductive paint), while a voice announces each building’s name and gives directions. Overhead projectors shine bright, contrasting colors onto the model’s surface for those who might be sight-impaired but not fully blind. As users touch the map, bells chime in a bell tower and a fountain makes gurgling sounds.

It’s a map like this one that could soon make its way to Philly:

Another project in the works will eventually be installed at Philadelphia’s Overbrook School for the Blind. The large “tablet,” as Landau calls it, will position a lit background against an opaque model campus. Users will still be able to touch buildings, but routes will light up with contact, creating an even sharper contrast for those with limited sight.

Cutting-Edge Maps Show the Way With Sound and Touch [Next City]