Help and Support
E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics is committed to answering any questions and addressing any concerns from our customers related to inTACT Products. However, due to our small staff, E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics does not currently have a regularly monitored Customer Service phone number. The best way to ask questions, report problems or receive support on our products is by submitting the form below, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make an effort to get back to you as soon as possible, typically within one business day. If you prefer phone support, you can call (802) 448-0170; If we are unable to take your call at the time, we will call you back as soon as possible. You may also review our Supporting Documentation for further instructions, use tips and troubleshooting.
- Who can use the Sketchpad?
- Can Tactile drawings made on the Sketchpad be removed and then stored or distributed?
- Are tactile drawings made on the Sketchpad permanent?
- What’s the best way to hold the stylus?
- Can I make different types of lines?
- I can’t feel the lines I’m drawing, why?
- Can I add Braille to tactile drawings?
- Can I add color to my tactile drawings?
- How should I store or transport Tactile Drawings made on the Sketchpad?
- Can I mount inTACT drawings to sturdier paper if necessary – such as card-stock or flash cards – without disturbing the graphics?
- What does tactile erasing mean?
- How does it work?
- How hard is it to learn to erase?
- How do I erase lines?
- How do I know if a line has been erased?
- How long does it take to ‘erase’ raised lines on the plastic sheets?
- Can I draw and erase at the same spot repeatedly ?
- Does the eraser visibly erase the lines?
- Can I erase a whole drawing?
- How long do the batteries last?
- How hot does the Eraser get?
- Is the eraser safe for use by kids? What about students with additional disabilities?
Tactile Drawing FAQ:
What is Tactile Drawing?
Tactile drawing is any freehand means of creating a raised line that can be sensed by touching it. Tactile drawing can be achieved in a few ways, but inTACT Products all rely on plastic tactile drawing sheets that raise as they are drawn on with a pen or stylus. Back to top
How does Tactile Drawing work?
There are many ways of producing tactile drawings. There are standardized methods involving paint that puffs up when it dries or paper that swells where it has been wetted. Generally the most convenient, quick approach involves scribing on a plastic drawing sheet — placed on a rubber backing — instantaneously producing a raised line. The inTACT Sketchpad uses this method. Back to top
What’s the difference between drawing by sighted and BLV people?
Generally the process of drawing is a more significant difference than the result. People who can’t see what they’re drawing generally keep track of their drawing moment by moment — and what they’ve already drawn — through touch rather than vision. But drawing is, in essence, an activity requiring spatial perception using one or more of the senses; it’s not inherently visual alone. Back to top
How do BLV people learn to draw?
Practice, practice, practice; just like sighted people. Like any sensory-motor skill, it’s easier to learn when started young. And, of course, tactile drawing tools are essential to make drawing — and drawings — accessible. How-to-draw teaching materials and curricular exercises requiring drawing can help, but mostly drawing is learned by… drawing. Back to top
What can blind people draw?
Equipped with tactile drawing tools, they are limited only by their imaginations and their learned skills. Blind and low vision people draw what sighted people draw, and for all the same reasons. The desire to draw seems universal among children; it’s not the special province of sighted kids. Back to top
Can low vision users benefit from tactile drawing?
Yes! Tactile lines drawn on the inTACT Sketchpad are also visually perceptible, appearing as white lines on a black background. This means users with low vision can benefit from visual and tactile feedback on the same medium, allowing them to take advantage of all of their sensory abilities. Back to top
inTACT Sketchpad FAQ:
Who can use the Sketchpad?
Anyone who can grasp and move the stylus with control and modest force (similar to drawing with crayons) can make a raised line on the Sketchpad. The Sketchpad was designed for ease of use by people of all ages, including young children. Back to top
Can Tactile drawings made on the Sketchpad be removed and then stored or distributed?
Yes, the tactile drawings are made on removable drawing sheets; When removed, these sheets are the size and weight of a piece of paper, and will still contain the tactile drawings produced while in the Sketchpad. Back to top
Are tactile drawings made on the Sketchpad permanent?
Tactile lines made on our drawing sheets will not, on their own, lose height and distinctness to the touch. A lot of touching, rough handling or heavy compression in a stack can cause noticeable flattening of lines, but proper care and storage ensures Tactile Drawings last for a long time. Back to top
What’s the best way to hold the stylus?
Gripping the stylus the way you’d hold a pencil or pen or crayon gives better control. When drawing hard, it’s best to “drag rather than poke”; in other words try to tilt the stylus so that the top end (in your hand, off the sheet) leads the way. This will prevent accidentally puncturing the plastic sheet and will keep the sheet from bunching up ahead of the stylus tip. (Exceptions are numerouse have seen very young kids who still hold the stylus in a fist grip produce wonderful tactile scribbles.) Back to top
Can I make different types of lines?
Absolutely. It’s easy to make lines bolder — higher, wider, more textured — by how hard you press down with the stylus while drawing. Also, the stylus included with the Sketchpad has two drawing ends which make lines of different weight. Experimenting with the two stylus tips and downforce is the best way to learn how to give your lines variety on the Sketchpad. Back to top
I can’t feel the lines I’m drawing; why?
If you can’t feel the lines you’re drawing, you probably need to press down harder! The more you press down on the stylus, the bolder your lines will be. Back to top
Can I add Braille to tactile drawings?
Yes. Some of our customers have taken the approach of adding stick-on Braille labels to annotate drawings made on the Sketchpad. A slate and stylus can also be used to create Braille on the drawing sheets. Back to top
Can I add color to my tactile drawings?
Yes! Colored ball-point pens and Sharpies will make tactile lines if used on the Sketchpad. This technique can generate beautiful tactile drawings with color! Back to top
How should I store or transport Tactile Drawings made on the Sketchpad?
They should not be compressed flat with great force, say, in a large stack of paper. Over time, the raised lines may gradually be flattened by repeated or heavy touch and become harder to feel. Also, the sheets should should not be folded or crumpled. It’s best if they are kept in a separate binder or folder or flat box, that has some breathing room. We have carried them around in folders and binders from conference to conference in suitcases, backpacks and duffel bags and haven’t had any problems Back to top
Can I mount inTACT drawings to sturdier paper if necessary – such as card-stock or flash cards – without disturbing the graphics?
Yes, absolutely. We have mounted them to foam core and mat board using double-sided tape (the one for posters works well) around the edges, away from the raised lines for best effect. It’s easy, and not messy.. You can use spray photomount glue for a more permanent mount. Staples work fine too. Back to top
inTACT Eraser FAQ:
What does tactile erasing mean?
The inTACT Eraser removes raised lines drawn on plastic sheets; it does so by ironing them flat with heat, thereby erasing them to the touch. Back to top
How does it work?
The Eraser uses heat to flatten the raised lines by ‘spot’ ironing them. Erasing is accomplished by rapid rubbing across a raised line. As you rub, the raised line is softened and flattened, erasing it to the touch. It operates at about the same temperature as a hot glue gun. Back to top
How hard is it to learn to erase?
There is a learning curve for making good erasures of tactile lines by ‘ironing’ them. Like pencil on paper, erasing raised lines is harder than making them. Think about drawing and erasing with pencil; each requires a certain dexterity. Drawing well with a pencil requires motion, control, and pressure. And, to get a nice, complete, clean erasure confined to a particular location without tearing the paper or smearing the graphite takes some practice. Using the inTACT Eraser to flatten raised lines requires similar dexterity, control, focus, and understanding of the process. but instead of worrying about tearing or smearing, the concern is for not warping or wrinkling the plastic sheets by holding the eraser in place for too long. Back to top
How do I erase lines?
Hold the Eraser vertically and loosely, like a fat pencil, with the heated tip resting flat on a raised line. Just let the weight of the Eraser push down on the line. Then, while keeping the Eraser vertical so that the tip remains flat on the plastic, move it quickly back and forth across the line, while moving it slowly along the line. Heavier lines may take longer to erase. Back to top
How do I know if a line has been erased?
An erased region should feel much flatter than the unerased parts. Like with pencil and paper, erasing thicker lines may leave a faint detectable trace. For best erasing, don’t make lines any heavier than you need them to be. Back to top
How long does it take to ‘erase’ raised lines on the plastic sheets?
Erasing time varies depending on the weight of a line; thinner lines can be erased quickly (3-4 seconds per inch of line) , while heavier lines require more time. The time involved in getting a satisfying erasure is very similar to that required in achieving an equivalent quality of erasing with a rubber eraser on a graphite pencil line.
Can I draw and erase at the same spot repeatedly ?
Yes. The eraser can remove lines of average tactile weight repeatedly in the same spot. That is, the user can draw and erase the same lines up to five times without damaging the plastic sheets. Back to top
Does the Eraser visibly erase the lines?
No; a white trace of the lines remains visible even after the raised line has been flattened. However, for experienced users with vision, there is a detectable difference in the visible texture of erased vs. non-erased lines. Back to top
Can I erase a whole drawing?
One can erase every raised line on plastic sheet given sufficient time. But, because the inTACT Eraser performs spot (very local) erasing (like a rubber eraser on the head of an ordinary graphite pencil), it could be very time consuming, depending on the number of lines. For this reason, we do not recommend using the Eraser to erase entire drawings. Back to top
How long do the batteries last?
The batteries provide over three hours of continuous use. To conserve power, make sure to turn the Eraser off whenever not in use. Back to top
How hot does the Eraser get?
It’s about the same temperature as a hot glue gun and significantly cooler than a 60 watt incandescent light bulb. You can tap the small heating tip quickly and lightly it won’t burn you. But, you can tell right away that it’s hot! Prolonged contact with the heated tip can cause minor burns. The Eraser can only melt or warp (but not liquify) the plastic, but not ignite it. But, the Eraser shouldn’t be in contact with other materials that might be flammable. Back to top
Is the eraser safe for use by kids? What about students with additional disabilities?
Which students are permitted to use the Eraser is very much a judgement call that depends on dexterity, depth of understanding of the process, and ability to focus and follow instructions, among other signs of physical or intellectual maturity. We recommend that any child 10 or under use the Eraser only with adult supervision. Back to top