I can see and that is why I can be happy. In what you call the dark, but which to me is golden.
- Helen Keller
Blindness or visual impaired problem is not only a physical difficulty. The blind’s brain won’t receive the messages needed for sight. However, having a vision damage doesn’t mean that they can’t appreciate fashion and feel the sense of aesthetic. While many researchers are working on accessible design for the blind, I saw an opportunity in the fashion field that can connect the world of the blind with the world of the sighted people.
Fashion for the Blind is committed to offer a new senses of aesthetic for the blind by touch and sound. Fashion is a subset of art and arts are crucial for advancement of many key issues in the education and rehabilitation of people who are disable. The project aims to help blind and visually impaired people dress fashionably and experience the visual world of fashion not only through our eyes but also through their hands and ears. Because blind can appreciate art and fashion.
The project offered an idea of conveying visual images in accessible formats to visually impaired people. Integrated touch and sound are the significant part of this idea so they can perceive aesthetic with their hand and ear.
What makes this special?
Sense experiences. the lack of sight will mean they will have a different conception of shape, mass, size and colour. However, their perceptions of texture and sound will be crucial.
Transform inspiration into the fabric choice
Vision for the blind: a) shows normal vision; b) and c) is the image the blind mice saw after the new treatment; d) shows the image they see using the current treatment. Credit: Nirenberg/PNAS
The use of fabric and material are based on the inspiration : how the blind perceive things.
- toy piano
- conductive fabric
- conductive thread
- fusible interface (iron on)
- foam sheet
- ink jet iron on paper
- screw driver
- sewing machine.
How to make it
- hack the toy piano
2. cut the unnecessary circuit and build the new one. I replaced the speaker with my new conductive tape speaker. I made three prototypes of speaker with conductive thread, conductive fabric and conductive tape. I also, tested with a variety of size and from. The size was not really matter. The conductive tape seemed to be the loudest one.
3. prepare the circuit
The first circuit that I made was the seven keyboards version but the solder joins were not strong enough. I scraped along the lines and soldered them to extend the circuit. However, the surface areas are to small so I have to shift to the bigger surface and reduce the keyboard amount.
4. attach the circuit with the fabric and design the way to hide the board and circuit
Things to consider
- should be able for battery changing > pocket/cover
- can be developed for washable method in the future
- the keyboard are located in the area that is appropriate
The Fashion for the blind is a dress that allows the blind to play piano with the interface. Users’ fingers act like a capacitor that make the circuit complete. Applied from the concept of body capacitance, Like any other electrically-conductive object, a human body can store electric charge if insulated.
- The silver conductive tape and wires that come out from the board can not be soldered.
- The speaker was loud at first but the sound level went lower after testing for couple times.
The next steps
- product development
- business aspect
- music for the blind community
Link to Instructables