Haptic Guidance to Support Design Education and Collaboration for Blind and Visually Impaired People

PI: Sean Follmer


Designers create sketches, diagrams and other visual media to both externalize a specific design concept as well as to explore design spaces. Even more importantly, the way designers collaborate is often through spatial and visual media. This poses large challenges for access and equity in design for people who are Blind and Visually Impaired. We specifically see large gaps in terms of access to spatial information and understanding and tools for supporting remote collaboration of such media. We believe a major challenge is tactile graphics literacy and tools to support teaching of and collaboration with tactile graphics in the context of design education. In efforts to address several of this challenge, we see the potential for a tool that provides haptic feedback to guide a BVI student who is exploring a tactile graphic, and to support BVI designers remotely collaborating with others. This project seeks to investigate the use of a wearable haptic guidance device to support design education and design collaboration using tactile graphics for BVI students through a co-design process. Controlled studies will be designed to measure outcomes using the device in a design education context including design learning, self-efficacy in design, and interest in STEM.