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Virtouch Mouse

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DISCONTINUED. (Verified 04/2009) RETAINED IN DATABASE FOR REFERENCE. The VirTouch Mouse is a tactile mouse and screen navigation device designed for use by individuals who are blind or have low vision. It enables users to recognize graphic shapes, diagrams, and pictures; to draw symbols, icons, and graphical schemes; to read text in regular alphabets and Braille; and to play tactile computer games. This tactile mouse integrates regular computer mouse and tactile display functions in one device. It contains three tactile displays, each incorporating 32 rounded pins arranged in a four by eight matrix. As the cursor moves through the graphics on the computer screen, pixel by pixel, the tactile display pins respond by moving up and down. Using three fingers, the user can understand the curvature and shading of the scanned screen pixels through the structure of pin height. The mouse has eight buttons on its top and side which allow the user to interact with the computer in order to navigate the cursor to specific positions, to send commands, and to transform images. In graphic mode the user moves the device along a tabletop as the cursor, which consists of three rectangles, moves through the computer display. The image from each of these cursor rectangles is transformed and sent to the corresponding tactile display on the device. In this way, the user progressively "feels" small parts of the computer display with his/her fingers and integrates a full picture from those small parts. In text mode, three display letters are presented at one time, one letter per tactile rectangular display. In response to corresponding commands all three letters shift in a desired direction. For reading text, this tactile mouse and its software provide either braille or text-to-speech output. In addition to its use for computer screen navigation, reading on-screen text, and playing tactile computer games designed for blind users, this mouse can also be used with other included applications that contain exercises and educational materials for study with sound accompaniment. All these applications allow the user to work independently or through interaction with a sighted relative, teacher or friend. These educational materials include: An introduction to computer graphics, covering orientation in two-dimensional space, navigation in Windows Desktop, icons, variable resolution, etc.; an introduction to various subject-oriented materials, including math, geography, biology etc.; games involving braille codes, printed letters, routes from a starting point (home, school) to a destination point (work, library, shop, post office), and action orientation games. COMPATIBILITY: For use on IBM and compatible computers. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Windows 98/NT/2000.

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