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Special gloves enable blind and low vision people to experience artwork

An art exhibition in Prague in Czechoslovakia, is helping people who are blind and have low vision to touch artwork in virtual reality. This is thanks to special gloves.

The Touching Masterpieces exhibit offers visitors many 3D models of famous statues to experience via haptic feedback in the gloves.

The exhibit opened last week at the National Gallery of Prague. Many users were invited to test it.

The project is the brainchild of Neurodigital Technologies. This is a company in Spain working in partnership with Leontinka Foundation for the blind and visually impaired, Geometry Prague, and the National Gallery.

Neurodigital started working on these gloves in 2015. The haptic feedback gives users a glimpse of art they never could experience before.

Haptic feedback, also called haptics, is the use of the sense of touch in a user interface design to provide information to the user. When referring to mobile phones and similar devices, this usually means the use of vibrations from the device's vibration alarm to denote that a touchscreen button has been pressed.

Blind children are usually taught in schools with tactile pictures. However, these have little to do with reality.

The haptic gloves are sensitive enough to show the difference between various kinds of materials. Those who use them can tell if the artwork is smooth, rough, or textured.

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