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National Center for Geographic Information & Analysis

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Research Projects - Non-Visual access to Geographic Information Using Vibro-audio Displays

The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a highly intuitive tool for members of the blind and low-vision community that would address the longstanding challenge of affording low-cost and effective access to graphical materials. This project investigates a multimodal combination of vibro-tactile, audio, and kinesthetic cues that can be generated by modern touchscreen tablets (especially smartphones), to convey useful visual information in real-time. Benefits of this approach include portability, affordability, and flexibility of use for multiple critical and common applications such as those enumerated above.

The research will contribution to better understanding of how blind and low-vision individuals process non-visual information, which is essential for rendering perceptually salient multimodal graphics.  It also helps establish best practices for rendering these graphics using a vibro-audio interface implemented on touchscreen enabled devices, as well as for similar future specialized interface development efforts.

Image Description: Vibro-audio

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Contact Information

National Center for Geographic Information & Analysis
5711 Boardman Hall, Rm. 348
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581 2188 | Fax: (207) 581-2206 E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System