Bernat showing visitors to Touch Graphics stand one of their products.
The TTP process:
TTP technology combines visual and tactile materials with a high quality
“smart pen” that gives more information in an audio format. This process
means we can explore a visual image or an audio message assigned to
different parts of an image. An image can be given several layers of
information, for example, about a particular aspect of that image, and the
viewer can then access the different layered contents by using the TTP pen.
By touching the tip of the pen on any location in the audio book, we hear
information about the area touched. When you tap on the audio book again,
you hear another layer of embedded information. You can use this pen to get
the audio commentary while you touch the surface of the book to explore the
The basic principle involved in the creation of this tactile tool is to provide a
platform where a simple version of the visual image can be explored. This
process allows the audio books to hold several layers of information, all
accessible by tapping on the book.
This means there is huge capacity to add many layers of specific information
to the audio book, like the title, dates, period and historical content, design,
colour, or even a song or music from that period, everything that can bring a
relevant connection to the image described. The audio commentary can be
heard through the pen’s in-built speaker, or if needed for a group session, can
be plugged into main speakers.
“In a matter of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.”
– Thomas Jefferson
The tactile book does not just rely on good design and visual imagery but is
also of good production quality and durability, with the capacity to hold a
huge amount of detailed information. The illustration quality is very good and
the interactive books can come as tactile cards or ring-bound books.
The design also includes sufficient spacing between symbols and raised
images with the result that readers and users are able to feel each part of a
representation clearly. Contact Bernat via details listed at the end of this
article for more information on the different formats.
Another plus for the interactive book is that the reader can choose to use it
on their own, or it can be used for group sessions and with the support of an
art educator or workshop facilitator, giving it great flexibility of use. This
means Museums that use this tool can also choose to issue them to
visually impaired or blind people on tour of the Museum, just like Audio or
Multimedia guides are currently been used.
Listen to the video below for a commentary on the use of the Tactile Talking
Pen. The audio-tactile interactive book used in this demonstration is the
Bernat’s background with making geographical prints and the making of
tactile maps (tractography) is one he greatly enjoyed but he has found more
fulfilment in producing tactile products that enhances lives, enabling blind
people access to various things.
Poll: What artwork would you like in an audio-tactile interactive book?
The need for continued research into use of other technologies.
As with any new technology, we must be prepared to experiment, explore
and monitor how effective the various technologies and supporting tools are.
Museums and heritage homes should be prepared to invest in technology so
we can evaluate, develop and design various strategies for employing them.
In the long-term, this may help bring down the unit cost of Interpretation
tools and improve the opportunity for some of these tools to be
more regularly used in the Museums, art institutions and by the end-users
also, the visually impaired and blind people.
an independent life, and we should all be encouraged to advocate for this.
improved dialogues and new conversations.