Monash University researchers will ‘bomb’ signage across Melbourne with stickers containing Braille to highlight the importance of accessibility, as part of this year’s Melbourne Knowledge Week.
On Wednesday May 11, experts from the Faculty of Information Technology (IT) Inclusive Technology Research Group will take members of the public to the streets of Melbourne for the Braille Bombing Tour.
In the free public session, led by Leona Holloway, researcher in inclusive technologies and expert in braille codes, participants will learn the braille alphabet, create braille labels and then stick them on signs.
The aim is not only to send a positive message about accessibility and inclusion, but also to help visitors who are blind or visually impaired.
“Through braille bombardment, we’re trying to invite people to experience a different world and learn, in a very tangible way, what it means for our shared urban spaces to be more accessible,” Ms Holloway said.
“As inclusive technology researchers, we explore how emerging technologies such as 3D printing, low-cost electronics, updatable touchscreens, artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision can be used to support the lives of people with disabilities while empowering them, their families and knowledge-sharing communities.
The Braille Bombing Tour is presented in partnership with the Australian Braille Authority (ABA), which oversees the development of Braille codes and promotes Braille as a primary medium of literacy for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Tristan Clare, ABA executive member and Braille proofreader, said Braille labeling is just as important as printed signs because it offers information about elevator floors, provides information essentials on fire safety and avoids the embarrassment of entering the wrong toilet.
“Additionally, if a learner is exposed to braille labeling around their home, school, or workplace, they get some of the incidental reading that sighted people have access to,” he said. she declared.
“Braille readers don’t have as much access to print as sighted people. Braille labeling could help restore this balance.
“Braille Bombing is a fun way to educate the community about the importance of Braille labelling. It would be great if organizations from other cities could also take up the Braille Bombing challenge.
The Braille Bombing Tour is part of the Inclusive Technologies Research Group Accessible Melbourne installation on May 11. Visitors can explore research on inclusive technologies through four interactive activities:
- Tactile Melbourne: Visitors will try to identify a range of 3D printed map icons using only their sense of touch and see them displayed on a tactile map of Carlton Gardens.
- Annotated Melbourne: In this activity, visitors can explore options for accessing audio tags on physical objects.
- Interactive Melbourne: Users can explore an interactive 3D model of the Royal Botanic Gardens, designed to be used with a chatbot so that users can ask the model questions which it will answer by voice.
- Sonified Melbourne: Visitors will see how the Inclusive Technologies team is helping to make infographics more accessible with InfoSonics: an innovative combination of voice tags, audio data and audio samples.
- Brailing Melbourne: This take-out activity will provide people with a motivational quote written in Braille on labels, which they can then display in their local community.
Inclusive Technology Researcher Leona Holloway and ABA President Jordie Howell are available for interviews.
To register for the Braille Bombing Tour, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/yvnxxe5a