Google Doodle celebrates tactile paving inventor Seiichi Miyake

Google Doodle celebrates tactile paving inventor Seiichi Miyake

A new Google Doodle might cause you to appreciate what’s under your feet.

In a neat illustration on Monday, the search giant honoured Japanese inventor Seiichi Miyake, who invented tactile paving, used worldwide to make public space more accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.

Miyake’s paving was first created in Japan in 1965, and rolled out in 1967 near the Okayama School for the Blind in Okayama City. It was implemented across Japan, in fact, it was made mandatory in the country’s railway stations. 

Then, it slowly made its way across the globe, built into sidewalks and railway platforms to help people navigate busy urban spaces.

Pedestrians navigate Japan's Kyoto station, which features the mandatory tenji blocks.

Pedestrians navigate Japan’s Kyoto station, which features the mandatory tenji blocks.

The patterned “braille blocks” or Tenji blocks as they’re referred to in Japan, consist of two types of raised bumps, which provide different information to pedestrians. 

Circles mean an impending hazard, like the end of a sidewalk or railway platform, and can also indicate a landmark like a bus stop. Straight bars work like a compass pointing people in the right direction safely.

 You might have walked over them today.

Directions right under your feet.

Directions right under your feet.

The bumps can be felt through one’s shoes or with a white cane, as shown in the Doodle, or identified by trained guide dogs. Google notes these different means of using the tactile paving with other sketches for the Doodle.

The Doodle also displays the paving’s signature bright yellow colour, which is the main but not only colour used for the paving.

Expect to see the Miyake Doodle at the head of Google on March 18 in Japan, the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., and a few other countries.

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