Tactile Talk

The Tactile Talk Technology lets printed material speak to the blind and partially sighted. Now, areas on the poster can be highlighted with a 0.250mm border, or Braille characters, for blind and partially sighted people to feel their way around the poster. Then, once 'inside' a shape they can hear it speak to them with PENpal or PENfriend. This pioneering technology is the first of its kind in the world.

Use your fingers to navigate across the page. When you feel a bump, this informs you that you have entered a "sound spot". Touch the pen next to the raised area and immediately an audio can be heard. For example, this could be a description of an object (for museums) or the periodic table (for schools). This technology has drawn the attention of the Royal National Institute of the Blind RNIB, and several products are being developed. This technology can be simply and relatively easily adapted for bespoke situations.

We start with the "Shapes" poster which you can buy. This poster introduces children to different types of primary shapes from which more complex shapes are made. What is great fun is that there are two sets of questions, Set 1 and Set 2. "Can you find the 'Star'?" If you answer right, the pen says "well done", if your answer is wrong, the pen says "try again". The questions get progressively harder but is a simple test to see whether you have grasped the salient points. Each shape has its outline raised so that a blind person will be able to detect it with their fingers. Touch the shape with the pen and you will hear a definition and explanation of how it's used. This is a fantastic SEN resource.

On the same principle we will be launching our "Map of Europe" poster in January at BETT 2013, followed by "Human Body" and there will be many more.

However, if you wish to make your own tactile posters, you can send us a PDF of the artwork and where you want the raised areas or highlights to be. You should also draw out the area that you want sound enabled. We would then arrange for printing. We can economically produce posters in batches of about 10 units. Of course costs will come down substantially with larger print runs. Please contact rob@mantralingua.com for more information.

We are also developing our storybooks along the same lines and will have two titles for young children, aged 5+, in January 2013: Billy Goats Gruff and Lima's Red Hot Chillee. The Tactile Talk version of these books will be around £20 each.