We've all read the stories of how museums and collections of fine art have struggled with how to make these priceless masterpieces accessible to people with vision loss. Now, the National Gallery of Prague is using technology - virtual reality to be specific - to allow people with vision loss to "feel" great sculptures and fine art.
Created with help from Geometry Prague and NeuroDigital, in collaboration with the Leontinka Foundation for the blind and visually impaired, the virtual reality experience features haptic Avatar VR gloves, specially adapted for this campaign, that let the blind “touch” work like Michelangelo’s David, Venus de Milo and the bust of Nefertiti. Haptic gloves enable you to touch 3-D objects in virtual space.
Watch this video of some of the first reactions of blind individuals to this virtual experience that launched March 23 & 24, 2018.
The technology is referred to as haptic or kinesthetic communication. According to Wikipedia, "haptic" comes from the Greek meaning "pertaining to the sense of touch." Haptic technology recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. This mechanical stimulation can be used to assist in the creation of virtual objects in a computer simulation, to control such virtual objects, and to enhance the remote control of machines and devices.