The tactile indicators are very simple to understand.
The wedge shape suggests you are going towards or away from the nearest exit. If
your hand or fingers glide over the rising surface of the wedge, you are moving towards
the nearest exit.
If the hand or fingers meet the edge of the wedge first and a resistance is felt,
you are moving away from the nearest exit.
A set of three bumps indicates a change in direction is required.
Place your back to the wall and walk forwards to either the fire exit or more directional
It's that simple!
Using the tactile indicators in this way, it is possible to navigate people along
the shortest distance to the fire exit, taking then across dead-end corridors and
across T-junctions in corridors.
During the development period of the wall system, trials were undertaken at the Building
Research Establishment and Cranfield College of Aeronautics.
The tests at the Building Research Establishment at Watford were undertaken under
the supervision of Drs Mike Wright and Geoff Cook of Reading University in collaboration
with the Joint Mobility Unit. The trial evaluated several low-mounted systems as
well as conventional emergency overhead fluorescent lighting. We can do little better
in supporting evidence than to quote from the report -The Effect of Smoke on Emergency
Lighting, Escape Route Lighting & Way-Finding Provision (EEWPS). The report found
that the SOS Waypoint electroluminescent system increased exit speeds by over 40%
compared to overhead emergency lighting.
In trials at Cranfield University, tactile modules were fitted to aisle seat armrests
of a 737 cabin simulator. Sighted people and, for the first time ever in an aircraft
evacuation trial, VIP’s (Visually Impaired Persons) evaluated the advantages of tactile
indicators. In post-trial interviews, many of the visually impaired participants
reported that the tactile indicators were of benefit , and sighted passengers also
commented on the potential advantages of the system in low visibility.