Trends and Predictions for Tactile Walking Surface Indicators
Walking surfaces are an integral part of our built environment. They serve as the foundation for how we move around daily, and their design directly impacts our safety and comfort. To think about the future of these surfaces, we must go back to the past. Perkins School for the Blind details in their article how tactile pavement was invented in Japan in the late 1960s but did not westernize until the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.
For years, designers focused on making walking surfaces visually appealing and slip-resistant. However, the importance of tactile walking surfaces has gained more attention in recent years, with increased research development to help individuals’ mobility and broadened application in more public spaces.
The Technology Trends of Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs)
Designed to provide tactile feedback to visually impaired people, tactile walking surfaces help them navigate their surroundings safely. They typically feature raised patterns, grooves, or other surface textures that can be felt underfoot. These surfaces can also guide people along a particular path or indicate a change in direction.
One of the most significant trends in the tactile walking surface industry is using technology to create more advanced and effective surfaces. For example, some companies use 3D printing technology to create customized tactile surfaces tailored to specific environments or users. This technology allows for more precise designs, which can improve the overall effectiveness of the surface.
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Another trend in the industry is the use of sustainable materials. Many tactile walking surfaces are made from rubber or other synthetic materials, which can harm the environment. However, some manufacturers use recycled or natural materials like a cork to create more eco-friendly surfaces.
The Future of TWSI Technology
1. Location in Home Settings
As more people become aware of the importance of tactile walking surfaces, there is a growing demand for their use in various settings. In addition to being used in public spaces like sidewalks and train stations, tactile surfaces will be used in private spaces like homes and offices. This trend encourages a stable and regular surface necessary for safe walking, particularly on stairs or where wheelchairs can be propelled most easily in home or office settings.
2. Additive Visual and Auditory Cues
Currently, TWSIs are made to be visually contrasting so they can be readily seen and effectively used by those with low vision. However, a growing trend is also toward creating multi-sensory walking surfaces incorporating tactile feedback and visual and auditory cues. For example, a surface could have colored strips or LED lights that change color to indicate a change in direction. This approach can be beneficial for people with multiple disabilities or sensory impairments.
3. Utilization in Design
Another trend in the industry is the use of tactile walking surfaces in art and design. Tactile surfaces can create unique and engaging public art installations or add a tactile element to furniture or other design elements. This approach enhances the aesthetic appeal of these objects and makes them more accessible to people with visual impairments.
TWSIs Will Continue to Expand
In terms of predictions for the future of tactile walking surfaces, we expect to see continued innovation and development in this area. This includes more advanced and effective tactile surfaces tailored to specific environments and users as technology advances. We may also see more integration of tactile surfaces with other sensory cues like visual and auditory cues, making them even more effective for people with multiple disabilities.
Another prediction is that tactile surfaces will become more widespread and commonplace in public and private spaces. As more people recognize the importance of these surfaces, there will be a growing demand for their use in various settings. This could lead to new regulations or guidelines for designing and installing these surfaces, further driving industry innovation.
The future of tactile walking surfaces looks bright, with continued innovation and development in the industry. As more people recognize the importance of these surfaces, we expect to see more widespread use in various settings and increased integration with other sensory cues. With the right investment in research and development, tactile walking surfaces could help make our built environment more accessible and safer for everyone.
At StrongGo, we aim for a more accessible world by innovating ways to apply High-Performance Tactile Warning Systems in a variety of places of public accommodation, like mass transit, commercial facilities, state and local government facilities, and more. Contact us about our technology today by emailing email@example.com.