Technology For the Blind and Deaf is Getting Pretty Cool

That picture above is a Blitap – an iPad for the blind. It uses a liquid-based technology to create raised Braille images to be read by the visually impaired. Pretty cool stuff. 

It’s just one of many emerging technologies that can be used by people with sensory disabilities. For the deaf, researchers at the National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning at Gallaudet University, are using 3D motion sensors on a person’s body to help translate American Sign Language motions into nursery rhymes. 

Here’s how NPR explains it: 

Most kids learn their ABC’s through the classic song, but English nursery rhymes don’t translate well to ASL. The sign language grammar structure is much different from that of English…

To translate rhymes to a non-sound based language, she adds, the team keeps repetitive rhythms available through the use of common handshapes.

Motion capture tracks these “temporal rhythms” of hand gestures and reflects the data on a dual monitor like a polygraph, which acts as a blueprint for the 3-D signing avatar. (In ASL, signage and facial expressions work to translate what might be compared to vocal intonations in English.)

Technology has long been cited as a key resource for students with disabilities who are getting special education services. Some technology can be really simple – placing a three-paneled barrier along the edge of a desk can help kids with ADD stay focused. 

Other technology is a little more complicated, like the Blitap or this 3D motion capture. Obviously there’s a cost here. Special education is already costly and difficult to manage, especially for poor school districts. 

But these kinds of technology are worthy of exploring in an educational setting. 



Calligram is a poem, phrase, word, portrait or object which the typeface, calligraphy and lettering is arranged and composed in a way that creates a visual language. The image created by the words expresses visually what the word, or words, say. In a poem, it manifests visually the theme presented by the text of the poem. Here we have some very beautiful examples form all over the world begining with Bob Dylan, an italian poem, the whale and the hockey player, Jimi Hendrix, Ganesha, a parrot from turkey, a tree and the holy elephant to a card sign. All works are made by hand and were partly digitalized on screen. Enjoy them!

Image source: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Typostrate video wednesday  12

Typographer, graphic designer and businessman Erik Spiekermann has created timeless, influential and, yes, Meta-physical work over the past three decades. He has founded Meta Design and FontShop and was the first seller of digital typefaces online. In this video he is talking about putting back the face in type. In addition he talks about visual language, design process, analogies of typography and why we need better client culture.

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»kissing, crying, and freaking out in public« by candy chang (+)

a series of public installations in hong kong that play with the boundary between public and private, isolation and connectedness, and the way technology, crowds, specific buildings, and messaging can mediate a citizen’s perception of solitude and community. by adopting the visual language of municipal signage, these unexpected and incredibly personal questions force the busy pedestrian to reconsider her emotional relationship to the city and suggest new possibilities for the way we describe our places.