Graphic minds

December 19, 1997

SCIENTISTS from the University of Sussex are developing a way for blind children to read graphs and diagrams.

Alan Parkin and Frances Aldrich are trying to find the best way of conveying graphic information through touch using raised-line graphs which can be felt, like braille.

Over the next three years the researchers will test a variety of tactile graphs on blind children to see which is most effective. They plan to produce the graphs using a special paper coated with a layer of minute, alcohol-filled capsules. A diagram can be drawn on to the paper using black ink and when the paper is heated, the alcohol in the black areas boils, bursting the capsules and leaving a permanently raised line.

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