Navigating city streets can be chaotic for any pedestrian (increase your hand if you’ve ever come this close to being hit by an overzealous driver with no regard on your proper of manner). But for folks with visual impairments, traversing sidewalks and avenue crossings might be exponentially more difficult and dangerous. Thankfully, a person named Seiichi Miyake created an invaluable tool that’s helped make things a whole lot safer via the decades.
Inspired by a close friend who was slowly going blind, Miyake, a Japanese inventor, invested his own money into an innovation initially often called Tenji blocks. Now more commonly referred to as tactile blocks/domes, the brilliant bumpy surfaces are like braille on pavement. They’re intended to alert visually impaired pedestrians of upcoming risks, like sidewalk curbs and train platform edges.
While those with extreme sight loss aren’t able to perceive the bumps’ signature colors, they’re able to detect the feel with their footwear or with the usage of an extended cane or guide dog. Two years after Miyake created the idea, tactiles South Africa the first tactile domes had been installed in 1967 along a highway close to the Okayama School for the Blind. A decade after that, each Japan Railway platform was modified to include Miyake’s invention.
The system turned a standard requirement in the 1990s throughout many international locations, including the U.K., the United States, Australia and all through Asia.
While you could be conversant in the widespread surfaces, chances are you’ll not realize there are actually two different types of textures to Tenji blocks: dots and bars. The dotted blocks are the ones supposed to inform those with visual impairments about upcoming hazards like crosswalks. But the bars do something totally different: They’re meant to provide directional cues so folks know they’re on a safe path. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public spaces like sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps and rail station boarding platforms to include Miyake’s invention.