A computer-assisted system has been developed for the\ud production of tactual mobility and orientation maps for\ud the blind. The system involves using computer-aided\ud design techniques to generate the input for a computer-controlled\ud machine tool. Plastic copies are vacuum\ud formed from an epoxy resin master. The main advantages\ud of this system are quality, versatility and speed.\ud Experimental studies have been undertaken on the\ud tactual discriminability of areal, line and point symbols\ud produced by this system. A further experiment studied\ud the retention of meanings associated with fourteen tactual\ud symbols and the ability of blind schoolchildren to locate\ud these symbols on a map.\ud A pilot study has been carried out on the acceptability\ud of four design parameters:\ud (i) Double and single representation of roads.\ud (ii) Choice of plastic.\ud (iii) Symbol elevation.\ud (iv) Methods for marking road names.\ud A number of tactual maps have been made for informal\ud evaluation by a larger section of the blind community.\ud As a result of this work a system has been evolved which\ud can support further research in the general area of tactual\ud representations, and which can also form the basis for a production unit to meet cone of the demands for this\ud type of aid. It has proven possible to identify sets\ud of symbols which may prove useful to the future design\ud of these maps
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