The device is inspired by the inspiring playful toys made by blind people with whom I work, at Tamil Nadu, India (you can see them, holding some stuff they have made in the pictures). They are excellent at making stuff with their hand, so it would be so awesome if they could upload their designs online, and more importantly share design ideas with people. So, I made an interface for a person to draw a 2D sketch into a computer using touch, and the person using a computer in another place can download the sketch and feel the drawing using this device, independent of sight.
This is a great chance to explore visualization through touch and sound.
Arvind Gupta has made a very simple setup using which the blind can communicate their drawings easily, but using woolen thread on a velcro sheet http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys/touchingslate.... .
The goal of this instructable is to make 2D and 3D computer-assisted design and rapid prototyping accessible to blind and low-vision makers, so that blind students, engineers, and scientists can fully interact with their sighted coworkers and peers.
Starting from basics, although sighted children have a huge variety of media with which they can scribble and draw (e.g., pen/pencil on paper, chalk on pavement, crayon on walls, etc.), blind children do not have comparably cheap, simple means for drawing raised lines with simultaneous tactile feedback.