Steven Landau (MArch ’86) of Touch Graphics, Inc. developed the Talking Tactile Campus Model at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA.
This multi-sensory architectural display of their campus is 3D printed in ABS plastic. Touch Graphics developed a special coating system that senses touches on the model’s surface, and a computer then speaks names and descriptions of buildings and landscape features as they are touched. An overhead video projector highlights what was touched to add interest for partially- and fully-sighted users. This project is an example of the kinds of projects and products they are developing at Touch Graphics, Inc. in New York City.
While Steven is no longer an architect, he feels that his current business as a designer and manufacturer is similar, and he uses his Harvard GSD training every day while creating products and exhibits that have very unusual requirements. It was at GSD that he first started thinking about becoming an inventor, and while it took fifteen years to make the career switch, it seems to him like a logical progression as opposed to an abrupt change of direction. Architects in general, he believes, should stop believing that their work must be mainly about making buildings. The skills they develop in design training and in practice are highly adaptable, and once Steven became aware of this, opportunities for making money and self-expression began to present themselves.
Article about the project on the Perkins website
Perkins Talking Tactile Campus Model web page
Video of the model in use
Touch Graphics homepage