The multisensory tour at Design Museum, titled Light, Sound and the Built Environment, which took place on Saturday 11 July, used new technologies in the museum’s collection and current exhibitions to explore the senses of light and sound, and how technology has in itself been used to improve our lives. Among the devices explored were Lumo, Leaf Light, Light Scores and the Responsive Street Furniture.
The multisensory approach allows us to communicate in ways not previously appreciated, enabling a richer, more valuable experience for users. These tours take an objective approach to interpretation and involve our participants in an engaging and insightful dialogue around the object explored. We believe that interpretation should be about sharing and learning through exploration.
Visually impaired participant using LUMO.
LUMO is a small, portable and affordable real time graphic reader which enables blind and visually impaired to read shapes, graphs, diagrams and colour directly from paper, textbook or sketch book. It converts black lines into vibration and translates colour into sound. On our live test during this tour, we found that it was particularly useful for blind people, especially those with no colour or light reference.
Designed by Anna Wojdecka in 2013 and first exhibited at the Royal College of Art show in 2014, LUMO was specially developed to enable blind people read and draw shapes, graphs and diagrams and also recognise colours. Even though its still in early phases of development it has already been recognised by users, RNIB and the health tech industry for its capacity to change lives and open up new fields of study to the blind and visually impaired, and for its innovation and inventiveness. The model we tried was the prototype, as seen above, but the final design will look like this, in the image below.
LUMO reads the surface of a page and translates graphical data into tactile and sound feedback. It converts black lines into vibration and colours into sound tones. Each colour calibrates to a different sound pitch, allowing the blind person identify the various hues of colour. For a first time user, you will have to make the sound reference to each colour, for example, the single tone is a primary colour (yellow, blue or red), while the double tonal sound comes from secondary colours (green, violent and orange), the mixture of primary colours. On the colour chart we used, you noticed that blue has the lowest pitch and yellow was the highest. The other colours have double tones because they represent the sound of the 2 or more primary colours used to make up that colour. Watch the video below to see and hear Lumo in action.
LUMO designer Anna demonstrates how it works.
When exploring black lines or colours, the LUMO creates a vibration. The black and white LUMO reader vibrates to indicate lines. Our visually impaired participants were very impressed with the use and functionalities of LUMO and are also aware that the device is still in development.
LUMO is an affordable real-time solution which makes existing learning environments more inclusive, as well as enriching the interaction between blind and sighted students.
If you are keen to explore how LUMO works, or want to plan a multisensory tour around the LUMO device, please feel free to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact us via twitter at @mamomi_i
The next multisensory tour:
The next multisensory tour at Design Museum is scheduled for October 3 2015, and titled WALKING: A LIFESTYLE? This tour will explore walking as a lifestyle and will include a session exploring the shoe-making process, as well as a walk around the local area. Booking information will be published on Design Museum website soon so please keep watching for details.
All LUMO images used by permission. 2015
A special thank you to Anna Wojdecka, designer of LUMO, for co-facilitating this tour.