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Pneumatic tech could bring affordable full-page braille tablets to reality

by • January 17, 2016 • No Comments

Suppose you had a tablet that just displayed one line of text at a time. It may be certainly frustrating, but it is actually a limitation that blind users of braille-displaying devices are faced with constantly. Thanks to new innovation being created at the University of Michigan, yet, full-page refreshable braille tablets may soon be on their way.

In existing devices that have changeable braille displays, the individual dots producing up every character are represented by tiny pins, every one of that is pushed up by an electric motor. Those motors take up a few space, so unless the device is going to be massive, just a tiny number of them can be used – hence the single-line format.

Additionally, for the reason they’re so intricate and incorporate so most components, such machines typically cost several thousand dollars. By contrast, it is hoped that the U Michigan innovation may outcome in a tablet costing less than US$1,000.

Led by associate professor Sile O’Modhrain, the team’s pneumatic process uses pumped air or liquid instead of motors and pins. Each braille dot takes the form of a tactile bubble that forms at a lower place the display’s rubber surface. For every new page, various combinations of those bubbles are raised to represent various multiple lines of text. As an introduced benefit, a tablet showcasing the new process may in addition display easy graphics such as charts or tables.

On the other hand the bubbles are fed by tubes in the existing prototype, microfluidic channels may be used in the finished product – much like innovation is may already used in the Phorm iPad mini case, that causes tactile bumps to temporarily form over every letter on the tablet’s onscreen keyboard display.

More information is on the market in the next video. A a fewwhat much like process is under development at North Carolina State University.

Source: University of Michigan via MIT Technology Review

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