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Public: Architecture: Room
Blind accessible floors   (+7)  [vote for, against]
one way flow surfaces

I was doing some work yesterday with a charity that champions disabled access to buildings and websites. It was a truely fascinating and somewhat humbling day.

One of the architectural techniques used in modern buildings is to change floor surface at junctions in a building. Some one who's blind can feel the change in surface and knows that this is an important area of a building.

However, it might be possible to go a little further and be even more helpful.

Some public buildings have a clear destination within - maybe the counters at a bank or the reception in a hotel. This carpet surface helps lead people towards the key destination.

This material is made of rubber and is therefore easy on the feet. The surface has tiny rubber vertical 'fronds', that naturally bend in the same single direction. Brushing your feet in the direction of the fronds generates little friction, yet brushing against the grain is notably tough.

The surface needs to be laid then such that the fronds fall in the direction of the reception. A blind visitor can feel their way to the desk and indeed, by laying the surface in the opposite direction on the other side of the hallways, the direction towards the doors can also be sensed.
-- jonthegeologist, Mar 17 2006

Brilliant! Could you also have different textures for different destinations? So that a blind person could be given simple directions like "Follow smooth to the first cross hallway, then follow bumpy until you find pointy, follow that to the left for the Drivers License Office."
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 17 2006

Interesting notion. You could also use it to send people, employees, say, subliminal messages.
-- DrCurry, Mar 17 2006

random, halfbakery