RM Phillips Research Network

Cognitive Science of Tactile Graphics

In this research project, we examine the cognitive processes involved in the perception of tactile graphics and develop new designs to improve their utility and effectiveness.

We are devising novel experimental techniques to record and interpret readers’ strategies as they interact with tactile diagrams. We will use that knowledge, alongside our previous work on the design of diagrams for challenging educational topics, to create tactile graphics that better support comprehension, reasoning and learning.

If you are blind or visually impaired and would like to contribute to this project, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us by writing an e-mail to tactilegraphics@sussex.ac.uk.

If you would like to contact any member of our team individually, find their details below:

Latest News

July 24, 2019

A substantial paper detailing and illustrating the major developments of the project have been published in the Behavior Research methods journal:
Multi-touch Interaction Data Analysis System (MIDAS) for 2-D tactile display research

January 23, 2017

The RM Phillips Research Network is going to run a showcase event on Tuesday 27 February 2018, 17:00 – 19:00, at the Brighthelm Centre in North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD.

There will be a series of short talks by research teams from the University of Sussex, as well as demos and networking opportunities. The event is suitable for anybody with a personal or professional interest in the topic, and also for members of the general public who are merely curious to learn more.
If you would like to attend, just register through the link below. Admission is free, and some food and drink will be provided.


April 25, 2016
The tactile graphics project is featuring in tomorrow's opening event of the newly formed Creative Technology research group. On the day, we are going to present some of our tactile designs and run a series of interactive demos. Peter Cheng will also give a talk about how Cognitive Science can inspire new creative technology.

The event takes place on Sussex University campus at SPACE, Bramber House, Tuesday 26 April from 4pm
See https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-technology-group-launch-tickets-777580765 for more details and free tickets.

June 1, 2015
We are very excited to announce that Dr Grecia Garcia-Garcia has recently joined our team. Grecia will be involved in the design, setup and conduction of experiments using our amazing GrapaTouch tablet software. She will also perform data analysis tasks and generally support the evaluation of the GrapaToo software suite.

March 19, 2015
Today we held the fourth tactile graphics workshop in the CALPS lab. There has been some amazing progress on tackling the problem of tracking the identity of individual fingers in a scene. The image below shows a video still of the tracking software that was developed by Graeme Jones and Andreas Hoppe of Kingston University. This software performs its tasks based on an anatomical model of the human hand, and then visualises the results in a graphical overlay put on top of the RGB video of an experiment.


 Finger Tracking Software Output

February 20, 2015
GrapaTouch, our main data collection software for the project, has been completed. It constitutes the third addition to a successful series of data elicitation and protocol analysis tools developed by Ronald Grau (the other two, SKeyLog and SMouseLog, have been around for a while but will soon be improved and re-branded as GrapaMouse and GrapaKey). The new software is based on the Android operating system and will be used to capture touch and movement data in our upcoming experiments.
Development activitities will now intensify for GrapaToo, a universal graphical protocol analysis toolkit that will integrate various types of data and provide a range of tools for their exploration.

Ron Grau testing an experiment setup

February 12, 2015
Ron Grau has conducted the third workshop on hand motion recognition using imaging techniques. Prof Graeme Jones and Dr Andreas Hoppe from Kingston University London presented their updated software prototypes and a series of mini-experiments was carried out to gather data for testing. In the next step, the different data collection methods will be aligned such that the image processing algorithms can be augmented by feeding in the touch data collected with our tactile graphics tablet.

Prof Jones explaining the finger tracking model

October 2, 2014
First informal trial of our initial experiment setup. We can now capture participants' hand and finger movements, touch data, and verbal statements with our multi-touch data capture software, as well as simultaneous video and audio recording.

September 12, 2014
Joint workshop on hand motion capture using an infrared camera with Prof Graeme Jones and Dr Andreas Hoppe from Kingston University London.

July 8, 2014
The first prototype of our multi-touch data capture software, to be run on a 12" touch screen, is ready for testing.

June 26, 2014
Computer Vision experts from Kingston University London visit Sussex to discuss methods for using imaging technology for eliciting data in our experiments.