Sladecolour - tactile visual system

This is a simple means by which blind people are able to relate to colour by touch. This is achieved by matching 16 colours to specific shapes to form a shape colour code. By matching colours with shapes, a simple equally visual and tactile system is achieved. There are playing pieces for board games and coloured shaped buttons for easy colour selection of clothing and many other items in the home.

The Fashion range covers the less used colours where the less known shapes are used. For example, the outline for grey is achieved by a combination of the square and circle image.

As seen from the 'home page', ten of the coloured shapes are produced as pegs for the playing pieces in board games. All 16 shapes are produced as colour indicating buttons. The Primary range covering the most used colours by easily understood shapes, square and circle to convey black and white.

The shape colour system is a three dimensional tactile concept to convey colour by touch. Unlike Braille, it does not require a sensitive touch to use it. From a minimum learning curve, primary colour shapes are soon distinguished either by gripping the shape using two fingers and thumb, (the same way as fastening a button), or with experience by just laying three fingers over the shape for a 3D contact.

An advantage of the 3D shape colour concept is that you are always in the correct position when locating the shape, e.g. the tactile image of the shape is the same from whatever angle it is approached.

The other tactile method of recognition is with three fingers touching the button when it is on top of an object. With a little practice, this will give an instant colour-coding recognition of the contents of canisters and containers for example in the kitchen.

Colour indicating buttons

These colour indicating buttons are more effective than any other means to provide instant tactile recognition to colour to newly blind people from day one. This is with the help of anyone sighted by starting with the four most recognisable shapes in the Primary range, square, circle, triangle and hexagon.

Starting with these four shapes, the user only moves on to the other colours and shapes when ready and the need arises, learning as one goes.

When sewn on to an item of clothing the gripping motion of two fingers and thumb to identify the colour is used - in the same way as gripping a normal button to fasten it. Then, as the user moves on to the other four shapes of the primary range and beyond, it will be helpful to slightly rotate the shape from side to side in the learning stage of shape recognition and colour association.

The buttons are easily stuck on to these items with reusable adhesive such as BluTack to canisters, tins and all similar items where ease of tactile recognition is needed. By placing a 'pinch' of BluTack on the back of the button, the adhesive is locked to the button by applying a little pressure so that the adhesive enters the two button holes. This way the button can simply be removed and relocated, the adhesive remaining firmly attached to the button.

The help of someone sighted to begin with is all that is needed to get to learn and use the shapes and colours. Then only occasional visual support is necessary when needed for sewing the buttons on to the right colour garment or arranging labelling by colour, when attaching to a group of containers.

For someone partially sighted with colour perception, the coloured buttons can provide an instant visual coding for tea, coffee, sugar canisters on the one hand, to the easy recognition of the colour in shoe polish tins on the other hand.

In addition to the shape colour concept, there are a number of unique user friendly features in the design of these colourful board games. There is a hole at every location area on the playing board for the peg base of the playing pieces to lock on to the board. This allows everyone to pass their hands over the board without dislodging the pieces from the board, even when they are stacked several high. There is a corresponding indent in the shape segment of the peg for the pegs to be stacked when a position is already occupied, for one example. Another new component is the inclusion of equal tactile visual dice.

Board games

We have discretely modified the graphics of most games to achieve a compatible tactile visual format. The most notable example is seen in the game of snakes and Ladders. Here the triangle outline conveying the colour pink is also used as an equal visual and tactile directional symbol in place of the traditional means of numbering the squares 1 to 100. With these games, totally blind children and adults comfortably integrate with everyone, regardless of sight, in this activity of creative play and fun.

Pictured above, 16 coloured buttons - Square black. Circle white. Hexagon brown. Triangle pink. 3 petals green. 8 petals yellow. Cross red. 5 point star blue. Decagon orange. 12 point circle purple. Circle with 4 points grey. 4 petals peach. 5 petals cream. 8 point star navy. 3 petals and 3 points turquoise. 6 notch circle beige.

16 tactile coloured buttons