Group of visitors looking at the touch model at the smithsonian castle
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New Interactive Touch Model Installed at the National Mall in Washington, DC

Group of visitors looking at the touch model at the smithsonian castle
Finding one’s destination inside buildings and on sites has always been a major source of complaints from visitors and even regular users. For people with disabilities, it is often impossible without assistance. The main product development project of the IDEA Center’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design and the Built Environment (RERC-UD) grant has been the development of Touch Responsive Models – 3D representations of buildings and plans. Working with Touch Graphics, Inc., two interactive touch models were installed at the National Mall’s, Smithsonian Castle and the National American History Museum. A usability evaluation with visually impaired and blind individuals was also conducted. User feedback and professional recommendations were submitted to the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian will consult with Touch Graphics, Inc. on addressing the issues identified.