Tactile Images and Graphs

From the beginning of time, people have been interested and curious about the world around them, way beyond what they can see and touch.

Around 1830, the first one of a kind tactile maps were produced, many of them made of wood.

11 Hand-carved map 1880
Wooden Map of South America

Over time, the invention of different production methods and materials  such as plastic made maps easier to produce.

14 Vacuum plastic relief map 1970
Vacuum Plastic Relief Map of Asia

Colorful Map of Washington 1976

In addition to static maps, the need to show different layouts and other concepts gave way to interactive boards and tactile drawing systems like APH’s Picture Maker and the Draftsman Drawing board.

15 Picture Maker
Picture Maker

Watch how this student creates a tactile greeting card.

Currently at APH, a product that will revolutionize the availability of tactile graphs and drawings is being developed. The Graphiti represents a breakthrough in accessible technology. A screen with multi-level, refreshable pins, connects to a computer, or uses a memory card to display graphics and images. Used with a camera, it can show images in real time. The Graphiti also allows the user to draw, zoom and scroll through images and graphs.

See a video taken during the 2017 solar eclipse.

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