Haptic 3D Surface Representation of Table-Based Data for People With Visual Impairments

Jonas Braier, Katharina Lattenkamp, Benjamin Räthel, Sandra Schering, Michael Wojatzki, Benjamin Weyers
ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS)(2015)

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 24 states that “States Parties shall ensure inclusive education at all levels of education and life long learning.” This article focuses on the inclusion of people with visual impairments in learning processes including complex table-based data. Gaining insight into and understanding of complex data is a highly demanding task for people with visual impairments. Especially in the case of table-based data, the classic approaches of braille-based output devices and printing concepts are limited. Haptic perception requires sequential information processing rather than the parallel processing used by the visual system, which hinders haptic perception to gather a fast overview of and deeper insight into the data. Nevertheless, neuroscientific research has identified great dependencies between haptic perception and the cognitive processing of visual sensing. Based on these findings, we developed a haptic 3D surface representation of classic diagrams and charts, such as bar graphs and pie charts. In a qualitative evaluation study, we identified certain advantages of our relief-type 3D chart approach. Finally, we present an education model for German schools that includes a 3D printing approach to help integrate students with visual impairments./citation.cfm?id=2700433

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