In the ever-evolving landscape of music technology, accessibility remains a crucial consideration. Synthesizer enthusiasts Geert Bevin and Tim Burgess have tackled this challenge head-on with their new project – Tactile Patch Sheets. The 3D printed overlays are designed to bridge the accessibility gap for individuals with low vision or blindness, offering a tangible solution that goes beyond traditional screen-readers. Patch sheets are typically used with synthesizers that do not have patch memory, such as retro / analogue synthesizers. They serve as a reminder to the musician for dialing in their preferred settings to (re)create the sounds that they want.
Geert and Tim’s collaboration began with a focus on creating screen-readable versions of patch sheets for the Moog DFAM and Mavis synthesizers. However, their vision expanded, leading them to devise tactile overlays that provide both patching ideas and knob positions physically on the synthesizer. The result? A more immersive and inclusive experience for synth users with varying levels of sight.
What sets Tactile Patch Sheets apart is their user-friendly approach. The overlays are open-source, encouraging further innovation and customization within the community. Geert’s passion for 3D printing culminated in this ingenious concept, breathing new life into the accessibility conversation.
The overlays consist of a base sheet, enabling users to design their own patch sheets, and support compatibility with both Mavis and DFAM synthesizers. Notably, these tactile solutions extend their benefits beyond traditional Braille, accommodating individuals with diverse needs, such as reduced finger sensitivity due to medical conditions like type 2 diabetes.
Geert Bevin’s UWYN website is a treasure trove of resources, offering detailed information and downloadable project files for those eager to explore the world of Tactile Patch Sheets. Additionally, Geert’s tactile knob rings, aptly named Knobotron rings, extend the accessibility revolution to devices with visual indicators for knob positions.
You can access the printable patch sheets over at this link.
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