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Sensory Strips

Enabling Engineering

The Need

Three blind children at an orphanage in Ecuador use the walls as guides to navigate within and between rooms. The goal of this project is to create fixtures that provide diverse types of tactile stimulation and allow the children to differentiate between rooms. As the team designs these fixtures, they will be working towards two objectives: first, to help the children clearly differentiate between rooms using recognizable textures, and second, to introduce a new source of sensory stimulation to the daily lives of these children. Sensory stimulation is critical for normal brain development in all children, and with the absence of visual stimulus, tactile stimulation promotes healthy development for these children.

The Project

The Sensory Strips prototype takes theform of a guide that attaches to a wall,allowing blind children to exerciseindependence as they navigate their environment. Using PVC pipes that trailthe wall’s length and panels featuring descriptive, tactile symbols, the childrenare able to walk independently andidentify their location within the room and building. Though simple, this has provento be an effective solution that introduces detectably increased independence inthe lives of the blind children at For His Children.

Current Status

This project is complete and a prototype was delivered to the orphanage in Ecuador in March 2017.