The Importance of Tenji Tactile Blocks


Do you know who Seiichi Miyake is? With many thanks to City of North Vancouver councillor Tony Valente for passing this #Googledoodle along about Mr. Miyake and the incredible contribution he made for sight impaired people.

In 1965 Mr. Miyake who is an engineer developed “Tenji” or tactile blocks to warn vision impaired people where to stand when trying to board trains. His invention has been adopted globally and is part of the sidewalk and public realm in many countries. As well theTenji blocks are known as “truncated domes”, “tactile warning surfaces”, “detectable warning tiles”  and “tactile pavement.” 

They all describe the same invention which are a “signal to stop or go” writes Jessica McBride at The first installation was on this day in  Japan in 1967 on a street near the Okayama School for the Blind. Japan embraced the tactile blocks at all railway stations within a few years of the development of the blocks.

Since 80 percent of sight impaired people have some vision, the blocks can also guide as they are a different colour from the surrounding pavement surfaces.

The YouTube video below provides a brief history on Mr. Miyake’s invention and also explores its application globally.