Visibotics Project Synopsis

Our project is a comprehensive package of solutions to make robotics, and specifically FIRST LEGO League Challenge, more accessible to the visually-impaired community. Our project package includes a website with robotics lessons, a tactile table model, a 3D-relief wall grid system, and a jig to help quickly and precisely place the robot. We hope that these assistive technology devices will make FLL more accessible for visually-impaired students and coaches, with the goal of enabling a legally-blind robot operator to engage fully in mission strategy and independently run the robot. The solutions can be implemented by FIRST and sponsor-supported to allow the accessibility bundle to be requested as an add-on when coaches register and order field kits, then ship them together and make the season-specific files available as free season and game resources to download along with the other standard materials.

Visibotics Website & Lessons

The Visibotics website compiles resources and open-source lessons incorporating universal design to be accessible to all users, with special care to enable visually impaired people will be able to fully participate in FLL Challenge, including screen-reader optimization. The Visibotics website currently includes lessons that the team members either collaborated on or worked on individually, but will be opened up for others to submit lessons and enhancements including closed-captioned video tutorials. The site also has free STL file downloads for anyone to 3D print the assistive technology devices the team designed.

Tactile Table

 The tactile table is a scaled-down model of the table including the field mat and home areas. It allows low-vision and blind users to feel the locations of the launch areas, mission models (indicated by number), as well as the home areas on either end of the table where attachments can be staged. The model is scaled with ideal braille cell dimensions so a legally-blind user can detect and read the braille markings to determine where the mission models are placed and where the black and white lines are located for robot navigation. The wireframe grid lines are being added to more clearly define precise location and make both the tactile table and wall grid devices more effective and user-friendly assistive technology devices.

Wall Grid          

The 3D-Relief Wall Grid sits atop the perimeter wall with ridges to convey field markings and the wireframe grid lines not otherwise discernible on the field mat for individuals unable to see the printed lines. For example, for each printed black line in the home area, there is a corresponding raised marking that indicates its location. There are more prominent markings to delineate the home area from the launch area and the field. A center mark aids in aligning the wall grid for precise placement. The wall grid not only makes robot placement and operation easier for participants with low vision, but it also allows for gentler guidance as needed so that a visually-impaired user can feel the letters and numbers on the axes to determine location graphically.


A jig aids in physical set up and placement of the robot for launch, without dependence on sight, increasing accuracy, efficiency, and ease of use. Jigs can be especially helpful for visually-impaired robot operators, but are includive and beneficial for all. The lesson guides the construction of a jig using standard LEGO Technic parts.