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04. TactiPad – Drawing tools – Protractor


The protractor makes half a circle with a 7 centimeter radius. In the middle of the straight side a 2 centimeter wide semi-circular hole has been made, to easily place the protractor on a line, or combine it with the ruler or a knob. On the round side, there are little indication points per 10 degrees. At each 10 degree point around the edge there is also a small notch, to help you precisely place your pen. Little slots on the top surface indicate the usual 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees angles.
The protractor has five round holes of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 centimeters in diameter, to easily draw circles.

You can place the protractor with the semi-circular hole against a knob

05. TactiPad – Drawing tools – Compasses


The compasses are made out of two main parts: a beam and a base. The beam has a turning point on one side and a pointy shape for drawing circles on the other. You can put the turning point, which will be the center of the circle in the base. The base, which has three strong magnets, keeps the compass in place on the TactiPad board, which has a metal layer below the drawing surface. The beam can be moved around the base clockwise and counterclockwise just above the sheet. The beam has as special ball mounting, so you can slightly tilt the beam. This makes it easier to draw a circle with the pointy shape.

Positioning the center

The base has a semi-circle shape with a diameter of almost 6 centimeters, with three little legs pointing out. It looks a bit like a round capital E. The middle leg has the shape of a triangular arrowhead of which one corner has been cut out. The arrowhead can be used to precisely place the center of a circle on a specific point in the drawing.

The two parts of the compasses: the magnetic base and the beam
The magnetic base keeps the compass in place on the drawing surface

If you place the corners of the arrowhead on two crossing lines, the compass spike is exactly in the middle. Along the outer edge of the base, three semi-circular hollows have been made which can be used to quickly and precisely position the center of the circle on a line.

The compass base positioned on two intersecting lines

Adjusting the radius

The pointy shape which is used to draw the circles can slide along the beam. The beam has a measure designation per 0.5 centimeters. Using this indication you can set the radius with 0.5 centimeter increments. The smallest possible circle you can draw is 3 centimeters, whilst the largest is 12 centimeters.

Measure designation on the beam

Tactile center indication

The bottom end of the turning point has three very small spikes. When you press and turn the knob on top, without moving the whole beam, a small tactile circle is created. This way you can indicate the center of the circle drawn.

02. Graphgrid – Rubber bands as grid lines and axes

Low and high rubber bands – Using differences in height

The framework of the GraphGrid has a thickness of four millimeters. Therefore there is a well distinguishable difference in height between the bands that run along the outer or the inner part of the frame. The lower rubber bands that are attached to the hooks run alongside the inner part of the GraphGrid and can lay flat on the drawing surface. The higher rubber bands are placed in the indents along the outer edge. The rubber bands can be placed horizontally and vertically or at an angle at any position, with a minimum distance of 1 centimeter.

TactiPad GraphGrid rubber bands

(Re)placing the grid lines and axes

The hooks and indents are positioned every centimeter along the frame, so the minimum cell dimensions are one by one centimeter. To form a larger grid, you can also place the rubber bands two or more centimeters apart by alternately skipping one or more hooks. Additional rubber bands for more grid lines and axes are supplied with the GraphGrid. These are standard, thin rubber bands with a length of 12 to 15 centimeter.
To keep the rubber bands in place, the hooks have such a shape that the rubber bands will not come loose if they are positioned properly in the frame. (Re)placing a rubber band is easiest if you hold the rubber band with two hands, keeping it perpendicular to the frame so you can slide it through the slot to the end of the hook. First of all, you span the rubber band in two opposing hooks, so that it forms a double line between two sides of the GraphGrid. You then take the upper of these two lines and slide it into the next two hooks to form the second grid line.
The higher rubber bands are stretched around the outside of the GraphGrid and fall naturally into the indents. It is possible that the desired position of one of these rubber bands coincides with the position of one of the knobs. Therefore, the holes in the GraphGrid around the knobs are ​​extra-long so you can slide the knobs aside for the desired placement of the rubber band.

03. GraphGrid – Basic usage of the GraphGrid

Basic usage of a GraphGridIn many different drawings, a regular grid of cells, columns and rows can provide useful guidance. For example, you can make beautiful creative drawings with repeating patterns in the cells. Many puzzles and games are played on a game board made up of squares, such as battleships and tic-tac-toe. In games like Yahtzee you can keep your own score by tallying in the squares. The higher rubber bands that are placed around the frame can be used to distinguish different parts of the game board or the scorecard.

In school there are many applications where the graph paper of the GraphGrid is useful. Using the cells can help with learning to count or to learn the tables of multiplication. In secondary school, the GraphGrid is ideal to use in mathematics to draw graphs or make bar charts to present statistical information.

04. GraphGrid – Drawings based on coordinates

The easiest way to draw a graph is to draw the x- and y-axis first using the ruler and measurements on the TactiPad, and then place the GraphGrid on the drawing board. You can use the higher rubber bands as axes by letting them coincide with the axes drawn on the paper.
You can then easily count and draw the x and y values of the graph along the flexible grid lines. Because the grid lines are flexible, the graph values can be drawn exactly at the intersections.
Once you have drawn all the coordinates of the graph, you can remove the GraphGrid and create the graph by connecting the points. If you want to create multiple graphs in the same coordinate system, it is recommended to finish one graph before starting with the next to avoid confusion between the two sets of points.

05. GraphGrid – The trigonometry tool

Sine, cosine and tangent – Basic functions with the trigonometry tool

GraphGrid the trigonometry toolThe trigonometry tool supplied with the GraphGrid is used to draw basic trigonometric functions. The tool includes two curves: a half period of a sine wave and (almost) a quarter period of a tangent. The scale of both curves is the same. A distance of 4 centimeters along the X-axis corresponds with 90 degrees. When the sine and the tangent functions have a value of 1, the distance along the Y-axis in the drawing is 4 centimeters. These dimensions provide sufficient ‘tactile space’.
Because the templates for the sine and tangent are only a part of a whole period of these functions, it is necessary to draw these segments multiple times in order to draw one or more whole periods of the graph.

The trigonometry tool has small indents and hooks as pen-stops. If you run along or against these pen-stops with the tip of your pen, you know the exact position on the tool. Along the straight sides of the tool, pen-stops are provided every centimeter. On the curves of the sine and tangent, the pen-stops indicate the ​​30, 45, 60 and 90 degree positions.
At both ends of the two curves you will find small hooks as pen-stops. These can be used to flip the tool around a pin or the tip of the pen to draw the next part of the graph without interrupted lines. Using the small, well-marked holes in three of its corners, the trigonometry tool can be fixated on the rubber layer of the TactiPad with small pins.

06. GraphGrid – Coordinate systems and 3D shapes

Coordinate systems and 3D shapes – Using diagonal rubber bands

GraphGrid Coordinate systems and 3D shapesThe main application for the GraphGrid is often a regular rectangular grid, but there are other applications in which the rubber bands can be placed diagonally, in addition to the regular horizontal and vertical lines. By combining rubber bands at different angles, you can create beautiful patterns with different angles and shapes that you can use as the basis for drawing.

You can also use a diagonally placed rubber band to turn a regular x/y coordinate system into a three-dimensional one by adding a third axis which passes through the intersection of the other two axes (the origin) at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. This way you can create a coordinate system that you can use to create drawings of three-dimensional bodies.
You can use the rubber bands to construct the outlines of these 3D bodies as well, such as a cube or pyramid. Again, you can distinguish between different (visible or invisible) line segments with higher and lower lines. The indentations around the outside of the GraphGrid continue around all four corners to allow you to position the rubber bands at any position and angle. This way you can learn to draw line and plane intersections in geometry classes.

01. Digital Pen – Introduction

Note: Since summer 2022, the Digital Pen has not been for sale anymore. This manual is for users who still own this former Thinkable product.

The TactileView digital pen is a special version of a ballpoint pen. The pen writes in ink like a normal pen, but at the same time determines the position of its tip on the drawing surface. In the pen’s tip is a small transmitter, which sends a signal to a receiver. Upon moving or clicking in the drawing surface with the pen, the receiver transmits this position to the TactileView software, just like with a regular computer mouse. Visual impaired people can operate the TactileView software using the TactiPad or TactileView ClickPad.

The pen functions as a drawing tool and transmits to the computer what has been drawn, or as a cursor by transmitting on which location has been clicked. This way, the digital pen enables the user to make a digital version of a tactile diagram or to explore a tactile diagram with speech and sound.

TactileView Digital Pen