Categorized | CSI, Education

Cape Town Science Centre’s instructional signage in braille for the sight-impaired


Some institutions countrywide could take a leaf from an innovation which the Cape Town Science Centre (CTSC) in Observatory has introduced: instructional signage in braille on some its key interactive exhibits for its sight-impaired visitors.

Wanda Diaz-Merced, a sight-impaired PhD Computer Scientist and Astronomer, is credited for the initiative. He meticulously translated the instructions of the centre’s interactive exhibits into braille.

Diaz-Merced, a Fellow of the International Astronomical Union Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU OAD) in Puerto Rico, said:  “Before this initiative, a blind person visiting the Science Centre would not experience nearly as much learning as a sighted person.

“We have worked hard to include as much material as possible in the form of braille explanations and tactile models (including 3D printed models) to enhance the learners’ experience. I walked through the centre, as a blind person, in order to evaluate the current experience offered and designed tools that will be especially useful to the learners. As hard as we have tried to enhance their experience though, there is still much that can be done and we hope that this is only the beginning of a process to make mathematics and science more inclusive to people with disabilities.”

The Cape Town Science Centre is Cape Town’s only ‘hands-on’ science centre established to educate and create awareness around science and technology, to excite both young and old and contribute to strengthening a culture of science in South Africa.

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