printer previously. The application of this technology gives teachers, office workers, and other users of tactile graphics a powerful new tool to provide graphic information to the Blind.
As with all new technologies, though, this one, too, involves some risks. The most obvious one is that as it makes it so easy to print tactile graphics, users may just want to print any color image with it and forget about the "rttm" principle. This would be a bad service to the Blind, as tactile images aren't automatically accessible just because they can be produced. It is still necessary to strip an image of any information noise that could prevent the Blind from grasping its meaning. It is also still necessary to remember about the number of dimensions. While the world the Blind perceive is strictly three-dimensional, it is also strictly non-perspective. This limits the possibilities for imaging. Some things simply still need to be grasped in actual, rather than virtual reality. And where text and graphics are combined, it should also be remembered that braille inherently takes more space than blackprint, so the page layout may need to be different.
For all that, the new technological possibilities developed with PRINT and TacFax have created the possibility to print computer-generated images which until now could not have been printed satisfactorily. They have introduced surface texture, variable line shapes, and height graduation as possibilities in tactile printing, three tools that until now were only available in toolkits for manually crafted tactile graphics stereotypes. It is up to users and user organizations to make the most of the technology, and develop expertise in using them.
Ying H. Chan ( 1999). An Assessment of the Methods of Producing Raised Diagrams for the Blind. Dept. of Chemistry, University of Southampton.
M. Lange ( 1998). "PRINT - Non-Impact Printer and Plotter for Braille/Moon and tactile Graphics". Proceedings, CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles, 1998.
Greg C. Vanderheiden ( 1994). Dynamic and Static Strategies for Nonvisual Presentation of Graphic Information. Transcripts, Symposium on high resolution Tactile Graphics, CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles, 1994.
Thorsten Puck ( 1998). "Tactile Image Processing with Tacfax". Proceedings, CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles, 1998.