Computer Haptics: A New Way of Increasing Access and Understanding of Math and Science for Students Who are Blind and Visually Impaired

Marjorie Anne Darrah

Preferred Citation

Darrah, M. A. (2013). Computer haptics: A new way of increasing access and understanding of math and science for students who are blind and visually impaired. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 3(2). Retrieved from doi:


Often detailed visual information is used to present math and science content. This can take on many forms in the classroom from textbook pictures to computer simulations. These visual presentation methods are not readily accessible to visually impaired students and this can lead to a lack of understanding and concept development. The students may not understand what they are missing and the teacher may not know how to easily convey that information. An innovative technology, computer haptics, provides a way to easily offer additional information through the sense of touch to supplement information being provided through auditory and visual means. Using a computer and a peripheral device called a haptic force-feedback controller, students can virtually explore three-dimensional shapes and receive tactile and kinesthetic sensations (i.e. shape, weight, viscosity, texture, etc.). This article outlines preliminary research in testing multi-sensory learning materials that incorporate computer haptics, auditory cues, and high-contrast visuals.

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The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research is copyright (c) 2014 to the National Federation of the Blind.