Published: Dec. 4, 2012

Technology allows blind student to 'feel' images

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Laura Seeley College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303

The development of teaching aids to help a blind student study computer science is among the projects to be featured at this year’s Design Day at Michigan State University.

The MSU College of Engineering event presents dozens of student projects that not only offer an educational experience for the students, but benefits people throughout Michigan, the region and the world.

Design Day is from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 7 at the MSU Union. An awards ceremony is at 1:15 p.m.

Working with MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, a team of first-year engineering students designed a set of teaching aids for a blind computer science student.

The technology is useful in displaying graphics and other visuals that accompany a textbook, allowing the student to “feel” and “experience” the images.

Another featured project is the design and building of a wall that highlights the creativity of people at a local vocational rehabilitation center

The art wall project is a collaboration between engineering students and students from MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities. The team designed and built the wall which is part of Peckham Industries’ 331,000-square-foot-facility in north Lansing.

The wall is adorned with pieces of art created by the people who work at Peckham, a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training and other opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The student team also designed and built an application for mobile devices that will give information about the 200 pieces of art on display at Peckham.

Other Design Day projects include a medication shortages dashboard that will give pharmacists an at-a-glance overview of current national drug shortages, and a programmable joystick that will function as an electronic device interface for individuals living with cerebral palsy.

In addition, about 200 Michigan precollege students will visit campus during Design Day to participate in the Dart Foundation Day of Engineering Innovation and Creativity. The middle and high school students will interact with MSU College of Engineering students and participate in hands-on robotic and structural support system activities.

For more information on Design Day, including a list of corporate sponsors, visit



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