ARIADNE - The NALPS Interactive Tactile Map
'ARIADNE', the NALPS Interactive Tactile Map is an innovative development of traditional tactile maps. In common with normal tactile maps, a 3D surface enables visually impaired users to feel the layout of a site and learn where key facilities are located.
What makes ARIADNE unique is that the tactile map also overlays a sensor array that enables it to operate like a computer touch screen, enabling the system to respond to touch with audio which gives extra information. Thus it combines a 3D relief layout with a clear visual representation and audio announcements.
Some short video clips showing the map in action can be found here.
Thus, ARIADNE is designed for both those with 20/20 vision and for those who are visually impaired. ARIADNE will:
- Improve people flow in any public area by providing clear, unambiguous signage
- Provide retail opportunities (these can be enhanced through interaction and audio announcements which can include shop opening hours, current special offers, etc)
- Promote inclusivity - all parties including those with visual impairment have access to complete information
- Provide other useful information through audio (for example, live updates about public transport)
Responses can be configured for each map according to requirements. The area of the map can be split up into any number of preconfigured zones relating to features on the map, with different responses linked to each zone. Different actions are:
- Finger tapping once on a zone
- Finger tapping twice on a zone
Thus, any zone and/or any user event can generate a response.
There are many different potential applications for the NALPS Interactive Tactile Maps.
- Transport: Bus and Rail station layouts, with real time transport data
- Shopping Centres, municipal buildings: shop location, local information
- Hospitals and other public buildings: location of departments, lifts, help desks etc
- Public spaces: layout and description of walking routes, road crossings etc
- Interactive interfaces: a tactile interface for control functions. (For example touching a ‘button’ identifies the button’s function, double tapping it activates the associated function.)
"Real Time" Information and Updating the Audio Files
As ARIADNE uses our low power HERMES Lite computer, it has integrated network connectivity with GPRS if required. Therefore audio files can be updated remotely even where there is no existing fixed network.
This ability, along with the ability of HERMES Lite to intelligently control the audio locally will allow, for example, a message about a Ticket Office to reflect the hours it is open, with amended audio when the Ticket Office is closed. If those hours change, data can be sent to the map to ensure the audio is still correct.
If the booking office is closed for refurbishment the map can be updated without the need to visit site. And where there is access to electronic transport information, the map can inform users of late changes to services.
It is also comparatively easy to change the map itself, for example if there were to be significant structural changes to the site. All that is needed is new data and a new front panel. Because the complexity of the panel is reduced, these panels can be constructed at considerably lower cost than traditional alternatives.
The result is that our approach both reduces costs and dramatically raises the quality benchmark for the provision of information to all parties, including the visually impaired.
Please Contact Us for more information.