A Diagram Acquisition and Generation System for Blind Persons Using Tactile and Auditory Senses
Hiroki Minagawa*, Noboru Ohnishi* and Noboru Sugie**
*School of Engineering, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-01 Japan
**Faculty of Science and Technology, Meijo University, 1-501 Shiogamaguchi, Tenpaku-ku, Nagoya, 468 Japan
The humans can use diagrams to clearly express information that cannot be expressed well in words. Now, one way to present graphic information to blind persons is the use of tactile diagrams; nevertheless, it is extremely difficult for a blind person himself to express information by means of diagrams. Under these circumstances, we have produced a system whereby a blind person himself produces diagrams and uses them to communicate with others. This system is composed of a voice input/output device, a keyboard, a memory unit, and a personal computer. Graphic information is presented separately as related to the tactile and auditory senses of blind persons. The system can thus correct the shortcoming that graphic information is expressed only in the form of an tactile or auditory (linguistic) expression. In addition, a blind person can operate the system by a dialogue by relying on his own tactile and auditory senses, and produce and preserve diagrams. A psychological experiment was conducted by using the new system on blind subjects, and it,, was confirmed that the system can help the subjects memorize graphic information and can also be used for expressing images as conceived in their minds.