Painter and art restorer, Tudor Scripor, received the gold medal at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions this year for his invention.
Tudor Scripor (40 years old) is originally from Cluj and holds a degree from Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Greek-Catholic Theology, specializing in Iconography. Apart from his expertise in art, the Cluj native has other interests as well.
Together with his team composed of Adina Timonea, Tania Câmpan, and Gabi Chifa, Scripor invented an alphabet of colors designed for visually impaired individuals. His project was awarded in April at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions and has the potential to positively change the lives of millions of visually impaired people worldwide. Scripor Alphabet is specifically designed for the visually impaired.
Where It All Started
Growing up in the halls of the Chemistry Institute in Cluj, with both parents being chemists, Scripor gained scientific knowledge about the composition of colors. For several years, he even owned a company that produced paints for painting. So, the picture is complete: Tudor Paul Scripor understands how paint behaves on canvas over time, and most importantly, he knows the secret recipe that creates color.
Working with stained glass, Scripor gained direct experience in the transmission of light and color. This is because stained glass is essentially a mosaic, where small pieces of chromatic information come together within the frame of darkness. Similar to Braille, stained glass has a subtle relief that informs the artist tactually. Scripor Alphabet engages the user’s mind to memorize this information.
The idea came to him several years ago when a visually impaired person attended his painting classes. Despite numerous attempts to guide the person, Paul Scripor realized that no matter what he did, he couldn’t convey the emotion of colors, which often represents the essence of a painting. Since then, he became preoccupied with this detail and sought to learn as much as possible about ways to help visually impaired individuals have at least partial access to the outside world.
“This alphabet was born out of helplessness. My helplessness as an artist to communicate chromatically with a visually impaired person. I faced many difficulties, but all those difficulties came only from external sources: people’s lack of belief in the project, mockery, and disillusionment. It’s very disappointing to hear over and over again: ‘Others have tried and failed, this is impossible, you’re wasting your time,’ or directly, ‘You won’t succeed.’ But what no one knew was that in my mind, the code was revealing itself, and the alphabet was taking shape with each page I read and completed, with every conversation I had with the visually impaired about the challenges they face,” recounts the author of the alphabet.
How the Visually Impaired “See”
The algorithm behind the Scripor Alphabet consists of mentally projecting simple geometric shapes: circle, rectangle, and square, associated with the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. By overlaying or combining the primary colors, secondary and tertiary colors can be obtained. The synthesized geometric shapes were transposed into a matrix composed of 10 points, resulting in a tactile language that bears some resemblance to the Braille alphabet.
The difference lies in the fact that one is an alphabet of shapes and colors, while the other is an alphabet of colors and dots, an extension of the Braille alphabet. In the Braille alphabet, the visually impaired had 6 dots for letters and numbers, while in the Scripor alphabet, they now have nine dots that adhere to the same size and dimensions as the Braille alphabet.
“This alphabet is based on a logical and intuitive algorithm. Visually impaired individuals who have lost their sight during their lifetime can quickly learn it. It is relatively easy to assimilate, even if they have never seen colors, and I’m not referring strictly to those who were born visually impaired but also to other individuals with visual impairments,” explains Scripor.
Each color and a range of shades can be tactually perceived through the Scripor alphabet.
The culmination was the participation and winning of the prize at the Geneva Invention Salon. However, not everything is rosy. Throughout the years of working on finalizing the alphabet, Paul Scripor faced financial difficulties, and the challenges continued even after completing the Color Alphabet. The participation in the Geneva Invention Salon was supported by the resources of the Scripor Alphabet Association.
“Only a few individuals who believed in this project contributed and sponsored our presence at the Salon. Upon arriving in Geneva, we presented and advocated for the project in front of the audience, the specialized Jury composed of experts in the field, categorized under the Education, Culture, and Art section, as well as the International Jury of the Invention Salon. After three days of deliberation, we received confirmation: in a festive manner, the Scripor Alphabet was awarded the Gold Medal accompanied by compliments from the International Jury and the Grand Prize offered by the Association of Inventors from Germany,” added Scripor.
The dream of bringing color into the lives of the visually impaired has materialized and been confirmed. Education, improved quality of life, social inclusion, and fostering independence are just a few of the numerous direct and free benefits that the Scripor Alphabet brings to the visually impaired worldwide.
Moreover, the alphabet designed for the visually impaired can be used in all aspects of life. From choosing clothing and colors, to games, art, sports, and even commerce. In practical terms, the visually impaired will be able to go shopping unaccompanied and purchase what they need. If clothes are marked with the Scripor alphabet, they can easily choose their favorite shades without any issues. In everyday situations, they will effortlessly choose between dark or white chocolate, red or white wine, and so on.
The Next Steps
The positive reactions during and after the award ceremony in Geneva have opened up two lines of discussion: one educational, in which Paul Scripor is engaged in advanced discussions with museums, universities, institutes, ministries of education and research from countries within the European Community, North America, and Asia; and a second line of investment, where investors and companies are interested in investing in the numerous applications that Scripor Alphabet will generate in the coming years.
One of the public institutions that responded almost immediately after the success in Geneva was the Cluj Napoca City Hall, which aims to be the first in Europe and even in the world to systematize and implement the color code in making the city, public transportation, and public institutions accessible. All of these will be adapted and included in a smartphone application because Scripor Alphabet is compatible with technology.
“In the near future, we will strive to develop as many partnerships as possible for applied studies, with associations for the visually impaired and other specialized institutions from around the world. These applied studies are necessary to identify the most effective learning methodology through which Scripor Alphabet can be mastered by those for whom it was created, individuals with visual impairments. So far, we have ongoing discussions for research and implementation protocols with institutions from Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia. In this regard, we will need financial resources to manage these processes and to move towards the widespread implementation of Scripor Alphabet as quickly as possible.
Therefore, we are seeking funding from both sponsorships and government or European sources to continue research in this direction. We hope that after receiving validation through the awards in Geneva, we will gain even more confidence, making it easier for us to attract these resources,” concluded the inventor from Cluj.