Cross-Sensory Globe

We present our participatively and iteratively designed 3D audio-tactile globe that enables blind and low-vision users to perceive geo-spatial information. Blind and low-vision users rely on learning aids such as 2D-tactile graphics, braille maps and 3D models to learn about geography. We employed participatory design as an approach to prototyping and evaluating four different iterations of a cross-sensory globe that uses 3D detachable continents to provide geo-spatial haptic information in combination with audio labels. Informed by our participatory design and evaluation, we discuss cross-sensory educational aids as an alternative to visually-oriented globes. Our findings reveal affordances of 3D-tactile models for conveying concrete features of the Earth (such as varying elevations of landforms) and audio labels for conveying abstract categories about the Earth (such as continent names). We highlight the advantages of longitudinal participatory design that includes the lived experiences and DIY innovations of blind and low-vision users and makers.

Uttara Ghodke, Lena Yusim, Sowmya Somanath, and Peter Coppin. "The Cross-Sensory Globe: Participatory Design of a 3D Audio-Tactile Globe Prototype for Blind and Low-Vision Users to Learn Geography". In Proc. of DIS'19 Pictorials. 

Find paper at: 

Picture of Prototype Globe
Friday, April 12, 2019 - 1:45pm
Lab Member: 
Uttara Ghodke

Innovative Designs for Accessibility Competition | Opens November 1st!

Image of hand and light bulb
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Innovative Designs for Accessibility Competition launches November 1st and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students!
For more information about the competition click here

About the competition
The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition aims to inspire  students to use their creativity to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues resulting in communities that are more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the program are:

  • to contribute to the creation of a culture of accessibility in Canada
  • to motivate students to think about accessibility issues and to include accessibility in their creation of social and technological innovations now and in the future
  • to develop cost-effective, practical and innovative concepts, programs, initiatives or designs that address everyday accessibility issues

Who is eligible?
Eligible applicants must be:

  • Currently enrolled in any postsecondary program at a university which has recognized provincial degree-granting power, or their affiliates
  • Students in all programs including architecture, arts, business, computer science, early childhood education, engineering, industrial design, medicine, nursing, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, etc. are welcome to apply

First place: Three prizes of $5,000 (Students who finish in first place will receive $5,000 and all expenses paid trip to showcase their project at a national conference.)
Second place: Three prizes of $1,500
Third place: Three prizes of $1,000

Brian Carriere
Program Officer
Universities Canada
Tel.: (613) 563-1236, ext. 279

Code4Lib North: the Ninth.

Code4Lib North logo
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 9:00am to Friday, May 11, 2018 - 4:30pm

For up to date information on the scheduling, or to register, visit the Code4Lib North wiki

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, Level 1, 122 St. Patrick Street (or via 113 McCaul Street)
Free (registration limited)

Jutta Treviranus

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto ( With its origins in the ATRC, which she launched in 1993, Jutta has established the IDRC as an international center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging digital systems, networks and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise (