The Hamsa Touch uses electric impulses to let the visually impaired feel computer and mobile displays.
We tend to take for granted the ease in which we interact with every piece of technology around us, from iPad touchscreens to the keyboards we rest our fingers on. Our technology system tends to rely on sight, as we watch an email grow longer as we type or scan through Google Images for the right picture. However, for the visually impaired, a technology system that focuses on visuals poses a huge problem. Researchers from the University of Electro-Communications in Japan have created a unique way for the blind and visually impaired to feel on screen displays from computers and mobile phones.
Hamsa Touch combines the built-in camera of a phone and an electro-tactile display to allow people to feel what’s on the screen. The technology converts the images into electrical impulses that they can touch with their hand. The prototype uses 512 photo sensors, which each map to their own electrode. The electro-tactile device is placed directly on the display screen and users can feel a slight tingle of electricity as they feel the tactile image.
Hamsa still has a long way to go before it’s ready. The next big step for the team is to start conducting user studies with visually impaired people to see which improvements need to be implemented in the next round of changes.
Watch the video below for a demonstration of this groundbreaking technology.
[h/t] PC World