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Draw a starry sky all to touch

Published the 08/07/2020 08:00

The starry sky is one of nature's immortal beauties. Those who see it are lucky enough to be able to admire every night, provided there are no clouds, a black firmament adorned with shimmering stars. Yet the sky is one of those things as natural to look at as it is difficult to touch.

I will use Biblos' tactile graphics to draw a starry sky. With this short list, I draw dots in the Biblos tactile area at random. I know, the tactile dots do not represent the exact projection of the stars in our sky, as experience is not at all comparable. However, it does give an idea of what the night sky is like for those who can't see. Each tactile dot is a star.

This code also has an educational value. In the queue I will explain the instructions I used. Copy and paste it into a new tactile graphics sheet and draw 100 tactile points randomly.

For n = 1 to 100
x = Random(width)
y = Random(height)
Dot(x,y)
EndFor

I used a For loop that contains several instructions. The loop is executed 100 times, so it draws 100 points. The value 100 can be decreased or increased, in order to reduce or increase the number of tactile points representing the stars.

I store the result of the Random instruction in the x variable. The Random instruction returns a random number ranging from 0 to the value -1 indicated as a parameter. I used the constant width as a parameter of the Random instruction. Width contains the current width of the graphic area. So Random will return random values ranging from 0 to width -1.
In variable y I have stored another random number, with a procedure similar to the one for variable x. In this case to the Random instruction I passed the constant height, which always contains the height of the graphics area.

The pair of variables x y for each cycle contains a random coordinate where to draw a point. Point that I draw using the Dot instruction. Then the cycle repeats this sequence 100 times.

This code draws a sky with an always different star arrangement. To draw a sky that can represent the true arrangement of the stars, it would be necessary to use real coordinates of the stars in the sky, projected inside the graphic area. In addition, the stars are visually black on a white background. This is functional for tactile printing, where the white colour is reproduced with a smooth surface and the black colour as a raised surface.

Imagine you are blind and have a sky at your fingertips, like the sheet of paper you printed. You have to do a lot of abstraction work, but try it. Imagine you raise your hand to the sky and you can touch the stars projected into a 2d surface. What you touch in the paper, imagine you are touching it in the sky.

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