How Seiichi Miyake's bumpy tiles impacted railway platforms and streets around the world

Tactile blocks invented by Seiichi Miyake hep the visually impaired to navigate public spaces.

(CNN)Most people probably don't give a second thought to the yellow, bumpy tiles near the edge of subway platforms and urban crosswalks. But for the visually impaired, they can mean the difference between life and death.

The person who dreamed up those tactile squares? Seiichi Miyake, whose invention is recognized today on Google's homepage.
Here's what you need to know about Miyake and how his invention ended up in public spaces around the world.

What are the tactile blocks for?

    Miyake's tactile blocks are often found at the edge of railway platforms.
    The tactile blocks (originally called Tenji blocks) help visually impaired people navigate public spaces by letting them know when they are approaching danger. The blocks have bumps that can be felt with a walking cane or through shoes.
    The colored tiles are often found at the edges of railway platforms or crosswalks.
    The blocks have two main patterns: dots and bars. The dots signal danger, while the bars provide directional cues th