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 the Tenji 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  Heavy.com.  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.






  1. What an impressive man! I have been pleasantly surprised to notice these barred lines appearing on renewed cement sidewalk corners – so useful for ALL of us eg walking across on icy sidewalk, pushing stroller across the crosswalk plus those who absolutely rely on these tactile clues to find the edges of a road and exercise more precaution.

  2. There is still a strip of those bumps in Seymour Street where the old 98 B-Line bus stop used to be.
    On the east sidewalk at the Bay Parkade – I’ve wondered when the City (or TransLink) would remove them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *