TACTILE GRAPHICS HELPER for iOS is available now: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tactile-graphics-helper/id1469997677
October 3, 2019 - The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies’ (Wireless RERC) App Factory project team is pleased to announce the release of the Tactile Graphics Helper (TGH) on the App Store. TGH was developed by researchers at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute led by James Coughlan, Ph.D. TGH is a free iOS app that makes tactile graphics more accessible to people with visual impairments. The basic idea of TGH is to track the user’s pointing finger as they explore a tactile graphic, like a map or the periodic table, announcing text-to-speech information about the location they are pointing to.
The Tactile Graphics Helper (TGH) is highly accessible to blind and low vision users and is intended to help them learn “graphicacy” (literacy with Tactile Graphics). Tactile graphics use raised lines, textures, and elevations to provide individuals with visual impairments access to graphical materials through touch. Tactile graphics are particularly important for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, where educational content is often conveyed using diagrams and charts. However, providing a student who has a visual impairment with a tactile graphic does not automatically provide the student access to the graphic's educational content. Instead, the student may struggle to decipher subtle differences between textures or line styles, and must deal with cramped and confusing placement of lines and braille. These format-related issues prevent students with visual impairments from accessing educational content in graphics independently, because they oblige the students to ask for sighted clarification. The TGH app makes tactile graphics more accessible to visually impaired users, and might also be of significant benefit to students without recognized disabilities by facilitating a multi-modal (visual, tactile and audio) interaction with tactile graphics.
Helpful information on how to use TGH can be found here: https://tactilegraphicshelper.wordpress.com
Please note that in its current (beta) version, TGH requires assistance from a sighted person to aim the camera properly on the tripod before the app is used.