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Parabola symbolising the year’s end

New parabola tool on the TactiPad

With the end of the year fast approaching, we hope you can look forward to enjoying the holiday season.

For us, the end of the year resembles the curve of a parabola. Things will gradually slow down for a well-earned rest, until midnight on the 31st of December when everyone is holding their breath to welcome 2017. In the new year, everything will be picking up speed once more with renewed enthusiasm.

Plans for 2017

We are pleased to let you know that the GraphGrid accessory set for the TactiPad has been extended with three additional tools. These allow you to draw perfect parabolas, hyperbolas and concave or convex lenses.

But more on that later – for now, we want to wish you a merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

Introducing the brand new Motorised Drawing Arm at SightCity 2016

At Thinkable, we are constantly busy developing new innovations for our blind and visually impaired users. We are excited to introduce our latest product concept: the Motorised Drawing Arm (MDA).

To get a hands-on experience of the new MDA, visit us from May 18 to 20 at SightCity Frankfurt, the world’s largest annual exhibition for the blind and visually impaired. You can find us in booth D1, right beside the entrance of the main exhibition hall. Or pay us a virtual visit on the MDA page.

This computer model shows how the MDA is built up. The MDA's body is shaped like a large capital H with dimensions of approximately 37x43 cm across and 2.5 cm high. The TactiPad can be placed either in landscape or portrait orientation on top of this body. A motor-driven arm slides from back to front over the TactiPad, with a motorised pen moving from left to right along the arm. This pen moves across the surface of the TactiPad and creates the tactile image from the TactileView tactile graphics software.

Motorised Drawing Arm

The new MDA by Thinkable is a concept for a computer-driven motorised arm that draws tactile graphics by mechanically moving a ballpoint pen across the surface of our tactile drawing board. It aims to combine the accuracy of the digital tactile graphics from the TactileView software with the versatility of drawing by hand on the TactiPad drawing board.

This way, the MDA opens up unique interactive ways of making tactile graphics easily accessible. Being a low-cost alternative for creating tactile graphics, it will allow you to create tactile images in one go or even expand a drawing in multiple steps by adding successive digital and/or manual elements.

Motorised Drawing Arm website

On the website dedicated to the development of the MDA, you can explore the applications, product concept, user requirements and technical information. Leave a reply to contribute your own ideas and suggestions!

 

Introducing new braille grid and measurements grid

In this newsletter, we would like to announce that Thinkable will shortly release a new version of TactileView, the most powerful tactile graphics editor available on the market. In this version, the emphasis lays on new convenient tools that will help you with accurate alignment of texts and objects in your design. With these, getting the right page layout has never been easier.

Introducing the braille grid and measurements grid

In the upcoming version of the TactileView software, the new braille grid and revised measurements grid will be introduced. These are great tools that help you to manage the layout of your design by easily aligning and placing text labels and graphic elements.

Highlighting the braille grid (above) and measurements grid (below)

The braille grid is primarily used to align text labels in a regular grid and conform to certain layout guidelines, whereas the measurements grid is mostly used to align objects and visualize their size.

Using these grids, you can easily:

  • Manage the size of inserted objects (measurements grid)
  • Control distances between elements (measurements grid)
  • Place text labels in a regular grid or on the same row/column (braille grid)
  • Align objects with text labels (subsequently using both alignment grids)

ATIA 2016 logo
Hands-on demonstration at the ATIA
Held on February 3-6 in Orlando, Florida, the ATIA conference is one of the largest international conferences on assistive technology. To get a hands-on demonstration of the TactiPad drawing board and TactileView software, including the new features in the upcoming release version, visit Irie-AT in booth 804 at the ATIA.

Keep the TactileView manual at hand – download the PDF version

In our previous newsletter, the TactileView manual page and tutorial section were introduced. This richly illustrated user guide allows you to look up any software functionality you might need. From installation and setting up to creating and printing your very own tactile graphics – it’s all in there.

TactileView manual on a smartphone and tablet

By popular demand, this software manual is now also available in a downloadable PDF version! This way, you can always keep the user guide at hand on your mobile device or save it on your computer for offline use.

Download PDF icon
Download the PDF version of the TactileView software manual

P.s. – Why not use the manual and tutorials as a guide to create the most original and personalised Christmas cards in braille?

TactileView – Get better results with the new tutorial section

Are you producing tactile images and other materials for blind readers, or planning to do so? And would you like to discover how TactileView can help you to create outstanding tactile graphics with minimal effort?

Then our manual page and newly added tutorial section might be the ideal place for you to start. Our first tutorial covers how to find a suitable image on the internet and which software functions to use to convert it into a tactile diagram. With either the step by step guide or the included video, you will find out how easy it can be to produce your very own high quality tactile graphics.

Screenshot of the TactileView manual page

The tutorials will show you the process of creating tactile graphics, whereas the manual section explains each software function separately and more extensively. If you wish to discover more about any of the software functions that are used in the tutorial, simply follow the links in the tutorial, which will bring you to the various richly illustrated manual sections that will cover them in more detail.

Windows 10 supported

Microsoft has recently released their latest version of their operating system – Windows 10. For those that wish to upgrade we have good news: support for TactileView v2.200 also includes Windows 10.

In case you are using printer drivers for your printer or embosser that where supplied from the manufacturer, you may have to check the producer’s website to make sure they are compatible with Windows 10.

TactileView version 2.200 now available!

We proudly announce the new release of the TactileView design and production software: version 2.200!

Thinkable logo in TactileView

Once again, the software has been extended with new and improved features and the overall efficiency has increased. A lot of improvements have been made based on feedback from you. We want to thank all of you for your contributions!

A few eye-catching (or should we say fingertip-catching?) changes in version 2.200:

In the release notes on our website, you can find the full list of exciting new features. In the following newsletters, we will highlight some of the other new additions and improvements in TactileView.

So feel free to download version 2.200 and update your registered version free of charge, or run it in demo mode before you decide to buy a software licence. You can purchase a software licence in the Thinkable webshop.

P.S. Some of the articles that are linked to above will give you a sneak preview of the new extensive online user guide that we are currently creating for TactileView.

Presence at 4 exhibitions brings valuable feedback and results

Over the course of the last three months, we have been present at four different exhibitions: CSUN, CTEBVI, ZieZo and SightCity. We want to send out our appreciation and thanks to all of you who that visited us there. Your reactions and new ideas always more than make up for the effort that goes into attending these exhibitions!

TactileScope with a number of 3D shapes

Eye catcher – TactileScope
At the exhibitions, we gave the visitors a first look at the TactileScope – an educational tool that is used to teach the concept of perspective in a tactile image. The device consists of three circles that can rotate freely over 360 degrees in order to position a central object in any particular orientation.
The TactileScope has the same bright yellow colour as TactiPad, and with its intriguing shape it attracted quite some attention, resulting in a lot of interesting conversations about the device and its application.

TactiPad drawing board, CircleFrame and GraphGrid
It always gives great satisfaction to see the smile on people’s faces when they discover the versatility and clever design aspects that characterize our range of products.
Some parents buy the TactiPad right away when they see their child creating circles and other shapes with an ease that they never experienced before. Others could not wait to start using it in their profession as a teacher or interpreter for the deafblind. And many blind visitors wished they would have had a TactiPad when they were young and still at school.
We love seeing our products come to life in the hands of our visitors!

Input and reactions from our visitors
The TactileView software also received great feedback from users. Ideas and feedback come from professional designers that create tactile graphics on a daily basis, from teachers, from interpreters for deafblind people, from parents of blind children, from technologists and scientists, etc. We have incorporated many of these in the upcoming release of the TactileView software (version 2.200).

User suggestion: manipulating smaller parts of the design
One of the many suggestions for new software features from the TactileView users was the application of filters on a selected area in the design.
For this, the ‘Select Area’ tool has been customized to include two variations: the rectangular area selection or vertical/horizontal strips.

Adding or removing vertical or horizontal areas in the design

Selected strips can be used to remove a vertical or horizontal area, or to add this amount of white space to the design. A preview when hovering over the green plus sign will display the addition, whereas hovering over the red minus sign shows the design with the deleted area. Simply clicking on either sign will confirm the action.

A filter applied on a part of the design

The rectangular area can be rotated or mirrored just with one mouse click. The selected content can now be processed using the filters (in previous releases they affected the entire design).

A pin board gave the inspiration almost 30 yers ago

3D printers and braille matrices
3D print technology is a fast growing method of producing all sorts of objects for fun and education. Many libraries with large numbers of three-dimensional objects have been established, similar to the TactileView catalog with premade tactile images. Holding these printed objects in your hand is a great way to learn about a wide range of different concepts and subjects.
In books and web pages however, the same three-dimensional objects are presented in ‘flattened’, two-dimensional images and photos, giving a completely different impression. This is where tactile graphics made with TactileView come into play.

Printing in braille (or on swellpaper) and as 3D objects takes time. Moreover, a print cannot be changed once it has been printed. How nice would it be then, to have a large refreshable braille display that could cover an entire page!

Several companies are currently developing the technology for the pins, making them small enough to fit in a small space; fast enough so it would take not too long to present a new image; and importantly, cheap enough so we can all have access to such a device.
TactileView has so far been used to prepare images for printing on a braille embosser or on swellpaper, but in fact we have always been waiting for the day a matrix of braille pins would become available. Over the last few months we were approached by a number of people that are working on these technologies. They are more than interested to work with TactileView, as they see how the expertise in producing tactile graphics is ready to be used for this new type of dynamic matrix application. So… stay tuned for the next step in the innovation of tactile graphics!

Come visit us at SightCity 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany

Map of Germany in TactileView

On May 20-22, Germany’s biggest annual exhibition in the field of specialized aids for the blind and visually impaired – SightCity 2015 – will be held in the Sheraton Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany.

This year we will join our German distributor, Blista Brailletec, in booth D1 in the main exhibition hall. Visit us to get a hands-on demonstration of the TactiPad drawing board or get a feel of the possibilities of tactile graphics with TactileView.

We are looking forward to meet you in Frankfurt!

10 jaar Thinkable / 10th anniversary!

English version of this newsletter below

Thinkabe 10 jaar - verjaardagstaart / 10 year anniversary cake

Thinkable bestaat 10 jaar – profiteer van 10% feestkorting!

Thinkable, ons bedrijf dat hulpmiddelen ontwikkelt voor mensen met een visuele beperking, bestaat dit jaar alweer 10 jaar! Een mooi moment om eens stil te staan bij de vele ontwikkelingen in die periode, met TactileView en TactiPad als meest bekende producten.

Wij nodigen u dan ook van harte uit om ons te komen bezoeken op de ZieZo-beurs in Houten. Van donderdag 9 april tot zaterdag 11 april laten wij in stand nr. 49 weer de TactileView teken- en productiesoftware zien, waarvan binnenkort een nieuwe versie verschijnt. Ook het TactiPad tekenbord met al zijn accessoires kunt u er bekijken en betasten.

En wie jarig is trakteert: profiteer op de ZieZo-beurs van onze feestkorting van 10% op de artikelen die u bij ons ter plekke aanschaft.

Wij zien uit naar een feestelijk jubileumjaar en een inspirerende toekomst samen met u.


 

This year marks the 10th anniversary for Thinkable, our company that develops tools and services for the visually impaired. The best known products, the TactileView drawing software and the TactiPad drawing board, will be on show with a 10 % discount during the national ZieZo exhibition, held from April 9 to 11 in Houten, Netherlands.

We are looking forward to an exciting year and inspiring future with you.

TactileView – New version 2.200 coming soon!

In just a few weeks’ time, a new version of the TactileView software will be released. In this version we have introduced a number of new features that were requested by our users.

To give you a glimpse of what is to come, we would like to highlight two of the new software features in two short videos. The first one is the ‘dot view’. In this view mode, your designs will be shown in braille dots on screen, just as the document will appear on paper. In other words, what you see is what you feel!

Another important addition is the combination with the Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT). Their new release 11.3 and the new TactileView version 2.200 will allow you to easily create a single document with both text AND graphics in braille!

If you are attending the ATIA conference, held January 27-31 in Orlando, Florida, please visit the Irie-AT booth (nr. 209) for a personal try-out.

You are also kindly invited for Jeff Gardner’s presentation of TactileView, on Friday January 30 from 2.20 pm until 3.20 pm.

TactileView design in Dot view, with individual braile dots shown on screen
Photo: Screenshot of TactileView design in dot view

Read moreTactileView – New version 2.200 coming soon!