A Revolution in Accessing Digital Tactile Graphics and More!
Graphiti™ prototypes entering field testing soon! For more information about field testing, please see the end of this page.
Access to graphical information is a significant challenge for people who are blind and visually impaired. With the increased dependency on technology in schools, the lack of access to on-screen graphics can be an impediment to learning for students with visual impairments.
Graphiti is a dynamic multilevel tactile touch display developed by Orbit Research for the American Printing House for the Blind. This revolutionary display was developed in conjunction with the Transforming Braille project. Graphiti allows students and adults to access a wide variety of on-screen graphics by touch. This includes pie charts, bar graphs, geometric forms, maps, floor-plans, flow-charts, line drawings, and dynamic graphical content.
Graphiti’s breakthrough technology allows graphics to be depicted by means of an array of variable-height pins. To change to the next graphic, the pins on the refreshable display move up and down to create a tactile representation of the graphic. Graphiti can display topographical maps and other features such as grey levels and colors.
The current Graphiti unit pictured on this page is a one-quarter size prototype. The final full-page unit consists of a 40 x 60 grid of variable-height, equidistant pins. Graphiti features the ability to detect touch, so the student can draw, zoom, or scroll directly on the display pins. Graphiti can display tactile versions of images of most file types.
Features and Specifications of Final Full-Page Unit
- Standard letter-size unit (8.5 x 11 inch), with a display area of 9.7 x 6.4 inches, has portrait or landscape orientation.
- Slim in height, approximately 1.5 inches
- Upgradable via supplied USB cable
- Touch interface including the ability to scroll, zoom, draw and erase
- Ability to save an image drawn by touch to a PC
- User-configurable buttons for control and navigation
- Haptic (vibrating) feedback interface
- Protective cover
- Full size SD-card slot
- User can review and save files from the SD card (stand alone)
- LED and tactile power indicator
- Easy to maintain and service
- Built-in protection against fluids and dust
- Dynamic, independent refreshable pins
- 40 by 60 grid of equidistant pins
- Pins maintain their state without any power consumption
- Variable pin height – provides ability to present additional information for tactile graphics, such as color or importance
- Pins can be made to “blink” at configurable rates
- Auto power-off
- Rechargeable battery (user-replaceable)
- Battery or AC adapter operation. Standard USB connectivity
- Includes accessories: AC adapter/charger, USB cable
- Usable while charging on separate supply. Has two ports one for connection and one for power
- HDMI port, allowing the device to be used as a monitor
- USB port
Expert Review and Field Testing Begin Soon
APH and Orbit will begin field testing Graphiti in the fall of 2016.
The fall review will be with experts in the field of tactile graphics and assistive technology. Reviewers will test software, hardware, connectivity, and new features as they are implemented.
The spring field evaluation will be with teachers of students who are visually impaired, including students in elementary, middle, and high school.
Watch the APH News for details on dates and qualifications for expert reviewers and field evaluators.
Graphiti is expected to ship in late 2017 and may be available through APH’s Federal Quota Program in the U.S.
Generous Donor Supports Development of Graphiti
APH is grateful to the William M. Wood Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee. They awarded a generous $200,000 for the development of the revolutionary Graphiti dynamic multilevel tactile touch display.