How Seiichi Miyake and Tactile Paving Changed the World for Visually Impaired People

iStock.com/RonBailey
iStock.com/RonBailey

More than 140 years after Louis Braille invented the Braille reading system, Seiichi Miyake came up with a different system based on touch that allows visually impaired people to navigate public spaces. Today, tactile paving is used by major cities and transportation services around the world. Miyake was so influential that he's the subject of the Google Doodle for March 18, the 52nd anniversary of tactile paving's debut.

The Japanese inventor designed the influential system with a specific person in mind. His friend was losing his vision, so in 1965, Miyake used his own money to build special mats with raised shapes that lead blind and visually impaired people away from danger and toward safety. Pavement with round bumps was meant to signal nearby danger, such as a street crossing or the edge of a train platform, while a stretch of pavement with straight bars was meant to guide them to safe areas. The tactile design allowed pedestrians to detect the features with canes, guide dogs, or their feet.

Originally called Tenji blocks, the tactile pavement was first installed outside the Okayama School for the Blind in Okayama, Japan in 1967. They quickly spread to larger cities, like Tokyo and Osaka, and within a decade, Miyake's system was mandatory in all Japanese rail stations.

Seiichi Miyake died in 1982 at age 56, but the popularity of his invention has only grown since his death. In the 1990s, the U.S., the UK, and Canada embraced tactile pavement in their cities. Miyake's initial design has been built upon throughout the years; there are now pill-shaped bumps to indicate changes in direction and raised lines running perpendicular to foot traffic to signal upcoming steps. And even though they're often thought of as tools for blind people, the bright colors used in tactile pavement also make them more visible to pedestrians with visual impairments.

World’s Tiniest McDonald’s Opens in Sweden, Welcomes Bees as Customers

iStock/William Jones-Warner
iStock/William Jones-Warner

McDonald's has opened stores in an old train car, an airplane, and an oversized Happy Meal box. This new project from the corporation has many of the features of a regular restaurant—down to the posters advertising special menu items—but it's different in a major way. Instead of catering to human clientele, this miniature McDonald's is designed to attract bees.

McDonald's Sweden collaborated with the creative agency NORD DDB to build the branded beehive for World Bee Day on May 20, AdWeek reports. From the outside, the model is a replica of a McDonald's restaurant, with drive-thru windows, outdoor seating, and the golden arches presiding above it all. But instead of a counter and a tables, the interior is filled with frames where bees can build their wax. It's being billed as "the world's smallest McDonald's," but according to NORD DDB, it's still big enough to house thousands of bees.

The fast-food beehive is a nod to an initiative gaining traction at McDonald's in Sweden. Some McDonald's restaurants have installed beehives on their roofs and started replacing the grass on their properties with flowers to attract the pollinators. Global bee populations have declined at alarming rates in recent years due to pesticides, disease, and climate change, and the beehive project from McDonald's Sweden is just one creative way people are trying to give bees a boost.

This particular beehive won't be housed above a burger joint. On May 21, it was auctioned off to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

[h/t AdWeek]

This Tiny DIY Kiosk From Amazon Would Make a Great Backyard Bar—or Chicken Coop

Allwood, Amazon
Allwood, Amazon

This summer, upgrade your backyard cocktail parties with an actual backyard bar. The Allwood Retail Kiosk, first spotted by House Beautiful and available on Amazon, is designed to be a tiny store, but it can function as so much more. And most importantly, it can be assembled in a matter of hours.

Built from durable Nordic spruce, the compact building is inspired by retail kiosks in Scandinavia. The interior measures 94 square feet, and the window covers fold out into counter-like platforms for serving food and drinks. The versatile structure works as more than just a space for your small business. The seller notes on Amazon that past buyers have used the shack as a chicken coop, and it could even house cats: "I believe this could well work as a feline suite. I don't think they would complain."

The kiosk costs $3990 on Amazon, and shipping is included. Once it's been assembled, the exterior needs to be stained or painted to protect it from the elements. If you're looking for even larger structures that can be delivered, Amazon also sells tiny houses.

[h/t House Beautiful]

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