In a missive to ALL dated 29 Nov 94 10:05, Tvc@Iglou.Com writes:
Tv> Is it possible to convey haptic images
Tv> through schematic tactile
Tv> drawings based in common experiences
Tv> shared by blind people?
Obviously, we do not know (or we wouldn't be engaging in this discussion).
However, I must confess that I have my doubts. The symbology used
by the sighted, as I've said elsewhere, is based in part upon the ability
to fool the eye -- to create the illusion that what one sees
on paper, say, is what one sees in reality. I would maintain that
the sense of touch (insofar as object form goes) is *much* harder to
fool than is the eye. Consider, for example, the way a car is
drawn. All four wheels are in line. When I feel a drawing like
that, I run smackdab into my knowledge that, were one to *build* a
car like that, it would act just like a Suzuki Sammarai, that is, it
would fall over!
Tv> I do not intend to suggest that tactile graphics could ever
Tv> stimulate visual imagery. It would be
Tv> quite enough if we can find
Tv> the key to stimulate haptic memories and concepts through a
Tv> symbolic tactile representation. To
Tv> put it plainly, can we ever
Tv> learn to recall the two-handed
Tv> perception of a sphere upon a
Tv> stimulus of a tactile symbol?
I think that it's possible to teach that symbols stand for shapes.
I think, however, that any such system is extremely artificial and that
very little can be based upon common experiences. As said above, this is
because, in my humble opinion, the sense of touch is much harder to fool
than is that of sight (we're talking about shape here, not temperature).
I am doubtful that any set of such symbols juxtoposed could adequately
convey the essential physical aspects of an object to a blind person
as, say, a technical drawing does to a sighted person.
IMHO that's where mathematics shines; in the world of the abstract, numbers
and logic are everything.
To show the difficulties, consider that, although I understand
how things look from an angle (as opposed to straight on), I never
picture them that way; it's always an aerial view.
I could be wrong, though, and it's something worth thinking about.
It would atleast make for a longer discussion than the one we had during
the eocene as to which laser printer NFB HQ should buy!
--- CRR QWK 1.60
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