MEXICO CITY – For the purpose of developing analytic thought and reducing mistaken alterations in data received by children with sight disabilities, a group of students in Mexico City designed a multi-sensory system that includes stories, jigsaw puzzles and stuffed toy animals.
“Mati Mati: Makes Visible the Invisible,” is a system that reduces the difficulties of learning by developing analytic thought in blind children, said the creators, students at the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM).
The work focuses on a strategy of sensory instruction that reduces the reception of data in a mistakenly altered form due to the lack of sight.
“The solution we propose offers information to each of the senses, since it is based on hearing, touch, haptics (related to touch) and smell,” according to the system’s developers: Sandra Ameyalli Sanchez Otañez, Diana Yareni Valencia Morales and Sergio Acuña Herrera.
The bases of the project are two stories written by the students about endangered species in Mexico: the ajolotl salamander that lives in Xochimilco and the quetzal bird indigenous to the forests of Chiapas.
The system consists of stuffed animals that can be taken apart, two 3D jigsaw puzzles and stories with visual information printed in ink, whose editorial design was executed according to the needs of youngsters either blind or with very limited vision, and includes a series of watercolor illustrations that complement each story.
The stories include haptic images and the Braille system, which correspond to the sense of touch, while each one has its own audiobook so that users can hear the story narrated by the characters in the story, and whose soundtrack enriches the project, the inventors said.
Both the stuffed animals, with textures and materials that simulate the real feeling of the species, plus the odors related to the story and the jigsaw puzzles are all calculated to strengthen the analytic thought processes of blind youngsters as they try to dismantle and assemble each object without anybody helping them.
The jigsaw puzzles were designed and cut with a laser beam, possess geometric forms identifiable to the touch, and present textures through which users can identify each part of the animal through active feeling.
“These works build bridges to increase the blind kids’ integration into society through a proactive and empathetic experience,” according to Angelica Martinez de la Peña, professor at UAM and adviser to the project.