טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentNesma Khoury
SubjectImproving Orientation and Mobility of Blind People in
Public Buildings
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Bitterman Noemi
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

This research represents a new system set especially for the visually impaired. It helps transfer  both information and spatial data  before exploring a new building, by using  tactile maps  designed in a new technic that can be universally built with no need of Braille text.

The study was divided into three parts:


1. Searching for tactile signs and icons for a public space - WC, reception area, entrance/exit, corridor, stairs, coffee corner, elevator and waiting area


2. Making of the tactile models of the Orientation and Route maps


3. The experiment

a. Each of the 14 participants were given the chance to feel the tactile signs and to try to identify the shape of the icon, to link it to a specific area in any public space.


b. Both the orientation and the route maps were especially made for the current research. Participants had to perform 4 tasks. First two tasks were implemented after learning the orientation task. Then after a break of two week another two tasks were implemented after learning the route map. Each task was performed backwards as well, getting back to the starting point.


Participants had difficulty identifying icons and signs from the seeing world which were not familiar to them. The level of difficulty in identifying the icons was determined by the shape of the icon.


The research compared navigating after learning Orientation and Route map by Investigating the benefits and disadvantages of them, in reference of: defining the starting point, defining the right direction, the Influence on building the cognitive map, the ability of remembering the information and how much could it help when the person get lost.

    

The participants expressed a high ability in learning and keeping in mind new icons and signs.

The current research combines the field of architecture and industrial design.  It helps to provide an easy to access space for the visually impaired through a reasonable functional design. This would eventually help the visually impaired people to easily learn the new building.

The aim of this research is to improve the performance of the visually impaired by using tools that provide spatial information. .It helps him/her to live a more active and independent life in his/her natural surroundings.  This aim can be accomplished by interventions made during the planning of the building. This in turn, makes the building more accessible to the visually impaired which facilitates everyday life activities.