MapSense: A multisensory map designed for and with visually impaired children

MapSense (see also our CHI 2016 article) is an interactive map, designed to be accessible to children with visual impairments (and additional impairments). Our aim was to allow for very low tech tangible interactions. Using conductive PLA and sticky aluminium, any object could serve as a touch input for the existing prototype developed for the research project Accessimap: a touchscreen with a tactile map overlay.

Examples of tangibles used with MapSense.

The use of smell and taste quickly became an evidence. Teachers sometimes used them in the classroom to associate representations with children's lived experience. The fact that it could easily be used directly on the map facilitated these pedagogical and teaching practices. To allow for long term use, we designed a toolkit of conductive tangible supports, which can be used with toys or small objects, or filled with scented oils or food.

Support 3D-printed using conductive material.