Skip to content

Site Navigation

Tactile Periodic Table Project


Michael Fricke

Olon Ricerca Bioscience


The tactile periodic table project grew from my experience working with two blind individuals as a graduate teaching assistant in general chemistry at the University of Cincinnati. Tactile representations including molecular models and Picture in a Flash (PIAF) graphics were instrumental in conveying concepts and reactions mechanisms. Both of my students enjoyed the images I prepared and re-enrolled to take organic chemistry and then physics with my visual assistance. After their graduation we remained friends and I took up woodworking and made my first tactile carving – a map of the world on three joined pieces of maple with a walnut frame. I gave this map to my first blind student as a wedding gift. Tactile carvings have been my passion ever since and as an American Chemical Society (ACS) Councilor I brought this specialized skill to the ACS Committee for Chemists with Disabilities. Partnering with Mona Minkara who is a blind professor at Northeastern University we designed the braille periodic table. Our initial prototype will take me approximately 200 hours to carve by hand. Our goal is to build interest in the project and secure capital to bring in automation for mass production.