Tactile Tiles

There are 60,000 blind people and 363,000 people with severe visual impairment in New York City (visionsvcb.org). It is a constant challenge for them to navigate through the city and in public spaces, like hospitals, parks, courts, and universities. All the routines that others take for granted – riding the subway, walking down a sidewalk, finding rooms in a building – are challenges for those with reduced or no vision.

How might we improve access for visually impaired people in public spaces to increase their mobility, safety, and independence.

DFA NYU’s new project for Fall 2018, Tactile Tiles, builds on a class project from Spring 2018 aiming to develop innovative tactile systems that can improve upon present systems and create more inclusive and universal access – guiding blind and visually impaired people through public spaces in their everyday life.

More details on the first version can be found at: bit.ly/OpenIDEO-Tactile

For the 2018-2019 academic year, we are looking to assemble a team of 4 to 6 students to work on this project to iterate and improve on the idea using Design Thinking & Human-Centered Design principles. We are looking for a diverse set of skills: experience or interest: in universal access; with visual impairment; and in mechanical, electrical or civil engineering. Expectations are:

  • Willingness to learn Human-Centered Design and tackle the problem with this approach (info on HCD at designkit.org/human-centered-design)
  • A time commitment of 5 hours per week (for research, synthesis, prototyping, user feedback, and team meetings)
  • Participation in our Extended Design Sprint, running 9/24/18 to 10/22/18

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