Celebrating Excellence: Winners Announced at the 2023 Engineering Talent Awards!

Sept. 13, 2023
United Kingdom

Innovation of the Year

Winners of the Engineering Talents Awards 2023 are on stage holiding their trophy.

The UCL Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub won Innovation of the Year for the development of a new, refreshable tactile technology Tacilia.

The team aimed to allow children who are blind or have partial sight to be better able to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) education.

This project, led by Dr Tigmanshu ‘Tigi’ Bhatnagar, investigated the problems those pupils faced in the classroom and identified the need for a multiline, reconfigurable tactile interface that would help the children read books, explore shapes, design and learn to make senses of (usually) visual information such as graphs and charts.

Tacilia is a project led by Tigmanshu Bhatnagar and has been developed at UCL with collaborations across the Global Disability Innovation Hub, Institute of Making and UCL’s Interaction Centre (UCLIC), with in the wild studies conducted in India with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).

UCL GDI Hub co-founder and Academic Director, Professor Cathy Holloway, said:

Although there were many partners and collaborators involved in Tacilia, the development of a low-cost tactile device for blind and partially sighted people to engage in STEM education was very much the brain-child of Dr Tigmanshu ‘Tigi’ Bhatnagar.  As a former PhD student with UCL, we are especially delighted to see his hard work celebrated by his engineering peers, and recognised as innovative, assistive technology with the potential to benefit many people throughout the world.

The award is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and recognises the groundbreaking work of the GDI Hub.

The GDI Hub team behind Tacilia will participate in the Disability Innovation Summit: Inclusive Interactions on 13 and 14 September 2023.

The GDI Hub team are on stage, holding their trophy.