For a woman, finding out if she’s pregnant is a very private and confidential matter. It’s something she, based on the results, may decide whether to share with others or not. However, all pregnancy test devices today rely on visual results which means that for anyone who is blind or partially sighted, they cannot find out their results without getting someone else involved, thus sacrificing their privacy and dignity, and making a private matter immediately public. Not only that, using a pregnancy test is a challenge too because the packaging can be hard to read and open. For all these reasons, making pregnancy tests accessible is a much needed step towards equality and inclusion for women with visual impairment.
To make this happen, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has created the first prototype of a tactile pregnancy test for blind women. The prototype uses the same technology used in current stick devices, the only difference being that the result is displayed on a tactile pad instead of a digital display. The user can then find their test results by simply touching and feeling the tactile elastic pad. Besides the tactile test results, the device also uses high contrast colors for ease of use, and another tactile switch at the bottom raises to indicate the test has been successfully triggered.
The image below shows the inner parts of the device. You will see the the blue tactile part that pushes up against the yellow elastic pad on the top to display results.
The video shows this prototype works in detail.
RNIB is hoping that makers/designers will take this design and approach and incorporate them into their own products to make accessible design a reality. RNIB’s extensive research on creating an accessible pregnancy test prototype can be found on their website as well as the 3D Cad files for the prototype.