SACRALION Publishing House is planning, along with the release of its digital photo-illustrated musical bible, to present an analogous product for the blind consumers. This product will allow listening to the biblical texts and their accompanying music, while also sensing three-dimensional photo-images raised from a special tablet panel attached to the computer, appearing automatically in sync with the biblical text, or manually upon specifying a corresponding biblical verse or chapter via a voice command.

The system allowing photo-illustrated bible images to be presented in a 3D format works as follows:

The user’s computer is being connected to a special tablet panel named ITW (I Touch the World), which is equipped with an A4 screen, consisting of 548,100 pins (900 pins per sq. cm). These pins can be raised above the tablet surface, thus creating the aforementioned three-dimensional photo-images. The photos shown here are displaying an A5 format prototype, consisting of only 2132 pins, therefore resulting in very low capabilities. When provided with an A4 sized screen, consisting of more than half million pins, the quality will be exceptionally high, allowing for a blind person, familiar with reading braille texts, to distinguish the tiniest of details in objects appearing in front of them on the ITW panel. Nevertheless, the displayed prototype does provide a visual representation of the principles in working with the ITW panel.

When using a special version of the digital photo-illustrated bible, dedicated for blind people, the biblical text is being narrated in synchronization with its appearance on the screen, constantly being scrolled further in accordance with the narration. With the addition of a unique software, the narration pauses upon the appearance of a camera icon on the computer screen, announcing that a photo is embedded in the text (please see www.photobibles.com). A blind user can dismiss this notification by pressing a corresponding button on the ITW panel, thus resuming the narration, or allow for the photo to be shown. By choosing the latter, a grayscale photo will automatically appear on the screen, corresponding to the narrated biblical verse, and will appear in parallel as a relief on the surface of the ITW panel.

By pressing a button on the ITW panel, the blind user can activate a software enabling voice description of the photo. Upon touching the previously mentioned pins on the ITW panel, which have sensors in them, the user can activate the part of the photo’s voice description that matches the exact area of contact with the relief. This way, a blind person touching, for example, a relief structure, while simultaneously listening to information about that object, is able to, possibly for the first time in their life, get an idea of the elements forming this structure, its windows, columns, cupola. Furthermore, by pressing on the touched area of the relief, the user can magnify that part of the relief to the full size of the ITW panel (equivalent to clicking on the “Magnifying Glass” icon in the regular visual version of the photo-illustrated bible), thus allowing the user to feel the object elements in even greater depth.

Using the technology listed above, a blind person will be able to “see” the Holy Land, its nature, landscapes, and
cities. They will be able to “take part” in archaeological excavations, and observe artefacts of various epochs. It will also allow them to study in detail the Biblical Atlas mentioned earlier.

It is worth noting that this technology can be used not only for grayscale photographs in the 3D bible, but also with full color photos.

A change in temperature on the ITW panel pins, in accordance with the colored elements of the photo, combined with its relief representation, will allow a blind person, after a quick exercise, to “see” colors, thus giving them the ability to view present day photos, museum catalogues, illustrated internet publications, tourist guides and many other pieces of information that would be impossible to comprehend without our technology.

At present, SACRALION Publishing House collaborates with Israeli university labs that specialize in cybernetics and precision mechanics in order to implement the technology listed above. In parallel, patent applications have been submitted in several key countries for the technology concept, as well as for its technical implementation.