In an innovative diploma thesis project by IED Milano students Josefina Kunz and Kristrún Björgvinsdóttir, visually impaired individuals were given a unique tool to perceive the tone of voice in braille texts.
Five icons, designed as embossed representations, replicate the functions of emojis and typography in traditional written language. These icons not only enhance communication but also improve the lives of the visually impaired.
Based on a cross-sensory perception experiment, the icons visually represent different tones of voice. Extensive research showed that visually impaired individuals struggle to convey and interpret tone effectively. Each icon is associated with specific melodies linked to colors, enabling users to experience the intended tone through touch and hearing. The icon designs, based on a classical braille 6-dot grid, were refined in collaboration with blind individuals.
The project also includes 30-second melodies inspired by mapping notes to colors, providing a multisensory experience. These 3D icons, available in different sizes, have practical applications such as preceding braille sentences or appearing on book covers and music CDs. Through comprehensive research and accessible materials like books, audio content, flashcards, and various products, this icon system aims to empower visually impaired individuals, bridging the communication gap and enriching their interactions with others.