Touch Graphics, Inc. was established in 1997 to refine and commercialize methods for tactile graphics production that were first demonstrated by Karen Luxton Gourgey and the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Touch Graphics creates products and exhibits that rely on multi-sensory display techniques and audio-haptic interactivity. Our main interest is to present spatial concepts and figures through non-visual or extra-visual means. Materials produced are used in schools, libraries, museums and other exhibit spaces and transit terminals.
The company’s flagship product, the Talking Tactile Tablet, is popular around the world. Our offices and production facilities are located in Elkton, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan, and our sister company, Touch Graphics Europe, is located in Barcelona, Spain.
The Talking Tactile Tablet, nicknamed “TTT” or “T3″, is an inexpensive, rugged and simple computer peripheral device designed for use as a “viewer” for audio/tactile materials. A hinged, weighted frame holds one of a large collection of tactile graphic sheet motionless in place against a touch-sensitive surface.
A substantial, and growing, library of engaging and educational applications has been produced for use on the TTT platform.
This stylish unit works the same as the original version, but it is lighter, smaller and more ergonomic. It is still built out of solid steel and aluminum, so it is practically indestructible, and it still connects to a PC computer with a single USB cable!
The National Geographic Talking Tactile Atlas of the World. A collection of 43 audio/tactile maps and accompanying software designed for the TTT.
- The Atlas allows individuals who cannot access printed material to explore maps and learn about the geopolitical world. Users place one of the raised line, textured and color printed map sheets on the TTT, and then press on various regions and points to hear human-voice identifications of each feature.
- A “main menu” is accessed by pressing tactile control icons on the side of the map sheet; this offers a range of tool options providing in-depth information, including historical timelines, interesting facts, language samples and a distance calculator.
- At the heart of the Atlas is the Index tool, which permits the user to scroll through an alphabetical listing of all places represented in the Atlas. The user can select a desired place name; then the system serves as an audio “coach”, guiding the user’s hand to the requested destination on the map. This is a crucial (and unprecedented) accommodation that enables individuals who may never have been confronted by a map before to independently locate places of interest to them.
The Talking Tactile Atlas of the World has been created in collaboration with the staff of National Geographic Society Maps Division, which has supplied base maps and cartographic direction to the development team.
User testing for the Atlas has been carried out at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, and at Baruch College CCVIP and the Jewish Guild for the Blind in New York City .