Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Feeling Three Dimensional 

A friend of mine is studying the use of the Internet by people with disabilities. Last week I caught the bus out to Curtin University to catch up and while I was there was introduced to some people learning Cisco (networking stuff) through Curtin's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

This particular Cisco workshop was for people who are blind or vision impaired. The participants also act as testers for new assistive technologies being developed. To demonstrate what kind of work goes on, I was shown a device and program that allows concepts to be taught through touch rather than sight.

Strangely, I found myself moving a three dimensional dice on the screen using a device made by SensAble. The dice appeared on the screen along with a yellow dot much like a mouse pointer. Using the device I could feel the yellow ball moving over the dice and could 'grab' the dice and shift it. I could even feel the virtual weight of the dice - up to two kilograms! Very cool.

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