Research

Principle Research Areas:

a) Assistive Technology for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Our primary focus is in making highly graphical software environments and information presentations more accessible to individuals who are visually impaired. Included in this interest are:

  1. a long term project to provide automatic conversion of visual graphics into audio-tactile graphics, and provide dynamic access on affordable refresh-able interfaces. Audio-tactile forms are consistent with best practices and dynamic access consists of both novel hardware and software methods.
  2. project tSCRATCH: the development of a tangible environment, “tSCRATCH”, for the popular instructional programming environment Scratch to provide visually impaired students with the opportunity to engage in computation and computational thinking alongside their sighted peers.
  3. providing access to 3D CAD environments and 3D printing for visually impaired students. We are seeking conversations with individuals who are blind or visually impaired for this project. Interested individuals should contact Dr. Pawluk at dtpawluk@vcu.edu.

We are also working on projects in the areas of:

  1. exploration of functional spaces (art museums, botanical gardens, etc.) through the provision of audio-tactile maps, self-guided narrated tours, and support for managers of spaces.
  2. providing more effective access to print: allowing individuals who are blind or visually impaired to have comparable access to sighted individuals.
  3. low-cost tactile crayons that produce different tactile texture residues on normal paper.

b) Haptic Feedback and Control Algorithms for Hand Prostheses

c) Improved Situational Awareness in Hazardous Environments

d) Basic Research in Haptic Information Processing