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In touch with pictures: Accessing Tactile Graphics

Richa Gupta

Friday, November 17 at 11 a.m. in IT 152


In this information-driven era, the use of pictorial forms of communication has become widely popular, making the world increasingly inaccessible to visually impaired and blind individuals. With a large visually impaired population to serve, India and other developing countries are faced with accessibility challenges to ensure empowerment and inclusion of the visually impaired and blind. Centre of Excellence in Tactile Graphics at IIT Delhi, India has been set up with support from Government of India to develop technologies for design and production of affordable tactile graphics.

The effectiveness of tactile diagrams has been questioned and doubted by many earlier researchers. For a long time, it was thought that a tactile version of graphics was bound to fail because it would be based on principles of vision and optics. Later, it was argued by researchers that understanding pictures is inherent to humans and is not confined to perception by vision. This opened up research opportunities in the area of picture perception through touch.

Though, reported research supports the development of tactile graphical aids in a big way, yet there are several major unaddressed issues in the design and realization of tactile graphics which need to be addressed to ensure effective perception and comprehension by a blind individual.

In this talk, the audience will get a glimpse of the work being done at IIT Delhi as well as ongoing research work in collaboration with SoIC, IUPUI.

About Richa Gupta

Richa is a doctoral student at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in New Delhi, India since 2015. Her research revolves around perception of pictorial information through touch which is a challenge for blind and visually impaired individuals. She holds a B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering and M.Des. degree in Product Design from top technology and design schools of India. She has also attended TU Darmstadt Institute of Ergonomics in Germany as a visiting scholar in 2012. Her multidisciplinary background aids her current research which is an amalgamation of technology and creativity.