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How the Blind Can See with Their Hands


Photo-Form Tactile Graphics allow blind users access to a vast range of images which they ‘see’ with their hands and fingers.


They’re bas-relief files created from any type of two dimensional image using digital technology. The result, in hard, durable plastic, is a surface that accurately represents the original image with an emphasis on textures and forms.


This new method is radically different from traditional production where string and other flat objects are placed on a board and a vacuum forming process is used to produce tactile image.


The inventor of this unique process is an architect, Keith Carlson. He intends to create a series of boxed sets of his tactile graphics. Each set will contain a number of files relating to a particular theme.


Topics covered will include Animals, Plants, Landscapes, Manmade Structures, Machines, Astronomy and Geography. Each set will come in its own carrying case and will be available in libraries, schools, universities and organizations which serve the blind community.

During an initial round of user testing at a foundation for blind children, Carlson placed a file featuring an image of Saturn on the table for one of the children to try out. As her fingers examined the surface, she asked “what is this?” He told her to move her hand towards the bottom right hand side for the Braille description. As she read the words “Saturn”, she exclaimed, “Oh so that’s what Saturn looks like!”  When the entire room burst into laughter Carlson knew he had a successful project to work on.

For more information regarding Photo-form Tactile Graphics, please visit their web site at











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