Browse Prior Art Database

Tactile Surface for Computer User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000113466D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Coulombe, JS: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A method is disclosed which: * provides a physical-spatial arrangement of information that can be perceived by blind computer users; * offers blind computer users some of the benefits inherent in graphical user interfaces; and * could be used by sighted computer users in applications where sight is not appropriate or where tactile information could enhance interaction with the computer system.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 79% of the total text.

Tactile Surface for Computer User Interface

      A method is disclosed which:

o   provides a physical-spatial arrangement of information that can
    be perceived by blind computer users;

o   offers blind computer users some of the benefits inherent in
    graphical user interfaces; and

o   could be used by sighted computer users in applications where
    sight is not appropriate or where tactile information could
    enhance interaction with the computer system.

      The tactile surface described here would translate the
visual-spatial arrangement into a physical-spatial arrangement so
that a blind computer user could benefit from many of the advantages
of graphical user interfaces.

      The surface would be constructed of a two-dimensional matrix of
thermal units.  Each thermal unit would be of the type used in the
print heads of thermal printers.  When a current is applied, the
thermal unit generates heat.  In printing, this energy is used to
change physical properties of the paper in contact with the print
head.

      In this application, the current will be carefully controlled
(by using short pulses) so that the thermal units will generate
enough heat to be detectable by a person's hand, but not so hot as to
cause injury to their skin.

      Spatial arrangements of information can be represented on this
surface by heating different parts of the physical surface.  A user
would perceive these physical-spatial arrangements...