Motivation

The ability of Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is an essential component of independent living of Individuals with Visual Impairment (IVIs). Blindness has a negative impact on the development of blind people's spatial skills. Touch and hearing are the primary senses that individuals with visual impairments (IVIs) use in order to access written and graphical information and to acquire knowledge about attributes of an environment and their surroundings.

Information technology offers the possibility to convert the spatial information in audio, tactile or audio-tactile form. An audio-tactile touchpad is a device which can simultaneously provide its users with tactile and audio information, while at the same time users are able to explore tactile graphics with their fingers. Until now tactile maps had raised graphic patterns that are recognizable only by touch. In the case of Audio-Tactile Maps, information is represented by audio symbols, tactile symbols, audio & tactile (combined) symbols and Braille labels.