Sep 17, 2021
This podcast is about big ideas on how technology is making life better for people with vision loss.
Close your eyes. Raise your hands. Reach out and touch the nearest surface. What are you touching? A desktop, a leather steering wheel cover, a porcelain cup, a plastic keyboard? Our sense of touch and the way in which we interpret the materials in our environment are fundamental to our experience of the world.
This episode’s big idea is the new developments in tactile technologies. You’re probably familiar with one of the oldest technologies, Braille, which was invented in 1824 by Louis Braille, a Frenchman who was blind by the age of three. Braille, which has undergone numerous refinements since its invention, has led the way in helping people who are blind read, write, and interact with the world around them. But as useful as Braille is, it has its limits: Braille is used for text; it can’t convey images. Two individuals who are working to develop technologies that will one day help people with vision impairment to experience images and graphics are material scientist Dr. Julia R. Greer from Caltech and physicist Dr. John Gardner from Oregon State University.
The Big Takeaways: