Roland Desktop Mill Opens Up New World For Visually Impaired

LAKE FOREST, CA December 10, 2007 Using a single Roland MDX series desktop mill, Touch Graphics, Inc. creates overlay sheets for their Talking Tactile Tablet device. The Talking Tactile Tablet gives users audio descriptions that correspond to whatever part of various 3D maps, diagrams or other illustrations that they touch.

"The Talking Tactile Tablet is a very powerful way to get visual information to people with severe visual impairments," said Steven Landau, president of Touch Graphics. "It makes it much easier for people to understand a map compared to just hearing words. Plus, you don't have to be able to read Braille."

The Talking Tactile Tablet also provides sighted people with attractive visual information. The top vinyl sheet is printed with a Roland VersaCAMM® printer, which produces maps and diagrams with crisp clear colors.

Making overlay sheets for the Talking Tactile Tablet is relatively simple. Once a map or diagram is designed in AutoCAD, the file is converted into DXF format. The Roland mill is then used to mill the 3D image into a clear Plexiglas plate. The milling process takes about an hour.

Touch Graphics then creates a mold from the acrylic plate using a rubber casting material, and uses vacuum thermoforms to press the tactile image into thin vinyl sheets. Since the vinyl sheets are pre-printed using a Roland VersaCAMM® printer, the resulting materials are attractive, both visually and to the touch.

"Milling is one step in the production, but it turns out to be the most important," said Landau "One of the biggest problems people have with 'looking" at things with their fingers is that they really need to be extremely precise. It's very important that symbols appear exactly the same way every time. The Roland has made it possible to make this product. And do it in a cost effective way."

MDX-540 Desktop Mill
Roland's latest desktop mill is the MDX-540. Powered by a 400W spindle, the MDX-540 produces parts with extremely tight accuracy and a smooth surface. It also handles a wide variety of nonproprietary materials and popular engineered plastics such as ABS, Delrin®, and nylon. MDX-540 materials also meet a host of FDA and other government regulations.

The MDX-540 can mill non-ferrous prototypes and molds made of aluminum, brass and copper. This lets design engineers create metal molds for rapid injection molding and SRP (Subtractive Rapid Prototyping) applications.

The MDX-540 comes complete with SRP Player. The CAM software automates the prototyping process and generates tool paths with high speed and precision. The user-friendly, wizard-based program offers uniform 3D scaling, support for 4-axis milling and simulation of finished 3D parts. The end result is faster model production, tighter dimensional accuracies and a smooth surface finish.

Touch Graphics, Inc.
Touch Graphics, Inc., creators of the Talking Tactile Tablet, conducts research and develops computer products for visually impaired students, museum visitors and professionals. As the population ages and the number of visually impaired people skyrockets, Touch Graphics seeks to fill a significant gap in the arsenal of assistive technologies. For more information, visit the Web site at www. Roland Advanced Solutions Division

Roland ASD develops advanced solutions for the sign making, engraving, jewelry design and CAD/CAM industries. Major products include GX series vinyl cutters, EGX series engravers, MDX series milling machines, LPX series 3D laser scanners, and the MPX series photo impact printer. The strategic business unit is a division of Roland DGA Corporation - an industry leader in wide-format printing and integrated print/cut technology. Roland ASD serves customers throughout North and South America with cutting-edge technologies and skilled dealers. For more information, call (888) 273-8895 or visit the Web site at

Editorial contact:
Will Curtis, Public Relations
(714) 349-7976
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