Learning and Perceiving Colors Haptically

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


K. Kahol, J. French, L. Bratton, S. Panchanathan


8th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Portland, OR (2006)


Color is an integral part of spatial perception and there is a need to develop systems that render color information accessible to blind individuals. A novel system that allows learning, presentation and analysis of color information, designed in consultations with focus groups of individuals who are blind is proposed. Our system is based on a methodology that renders colors as textures through a haptic device. The aim of the proposed approach is to enable color perception and provide a basis for assessing color similarity. Initial testing of the system shows that both blind individuals and sighted individuals can recognize colors through our approach and further assess similarity between colors through the system. A space was obtained through multidimensional scaling performed on similarity scores between pairs of colors as presented through our system. This space obtained high congruency with the chromaticity diagram and the hue saturation color wheel which shows the validity of our system to allow color visualization. A realtime system based on the proposed mapping is designed to allow realtime color perception.


Dr. Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan

Dr. Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan

Director, National Science Foundation