Workshop – Accessible Interactive Story Book Pages at MPavilion

MPavilion is an annual architectural commission in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite the Arts Centre. As part of their STEM series, we were excited to be invited to run a free public workshop on using eTextiles to create interactive accessible story books pages. Creating Tactile Stories was presented by Leona Holloway, Kirsten Ellis from Monash University and Louise Curtin from Feelix Children’s Library.

People sewing in MPavilion 2018, an open-air wooden architectural space.

In celebration of Braille Literacy Month, we talked about the importance of early, engaging tactile experiences as the first step towards (tactile) literacy for blind children. We then learned how to use eTextiles to sew a simple circuit with lights or buzzers, which we embedded in our handcrafted tactile story book page. We were delighted to see so many beautiful, creative and ingenious designs.

Some simple instructions on how to make your own eTextiles at home are given on the SensiLab website at Watch this space for more tips and resources to come.

Workshop participants touching a page depicting a furry blue cat with googly eyes.
This tactile cat purrs (vibrates) when its tail is patted.

Anuradha’s achievements in accessible mapping

With the holiday season around the corner, we had another reason to celebrate this week. PhD candidate Anuradha Madugalla has been working on the automated conversion of house floor plans to accessible formats: a written description, tactile graphic and interactive GraVVITAS diagram with audio labels on the iPad. Her work has resulted in two major publications:

  • Madugalla, A., Marriott, K. & Marinai, S. (2017). Partitioning Open Plan Areas in Floor Plans. 2017 14th IAPR International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (ICDAR).
  • Goncu, C., Madugalla, A., Marinai, S. & Marriott, K. (2015). Accessible On-Line Floor Plans. WWW ’15 Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web.

Anuradha has submitted her thesis and is looking forward to a well-deserved break before pursuing work goals. We wish her all the very best.

Anuradha (3rd from the right) with staff and students from Monash FIT's Computer-Human Interaction & Creativity group.
Anuradha (3rd from the right) with staff and students from Monash FIT’s Computer-Human Interaction & Creativity group.