An affordable Refreshable Braille Display does not exist. This device is the tactile equivalent of a computer monitor. This dream device has been referred to as the ‘Holy Grail of Braille’ within the visually impaired community. Existing solutions to the problem have either been too expensive to implement or too impractical to be functional. A single line display costs in the region of US$3000/-, which is beyond the reach of most visually impaired.
A Refreshable Braille Display would make access to computers & digital media an instant possibility for the visually impaired. Access would be in TEXT mode. Having a refreshable Braille Display would be the equivalent of having an E-Book. Embossed paper Braille would no longer be necessary. Access to digital libraries would be an immediate benefit – in fact it would be possible for the visually impaired to actually own a digital library – a conventional Braille library is not an option for most people due to space requirements of Braille books.
Traditional technologies use piezo-electric bi-morphs as actuators. These devices are very expensive and have been the only practical solution to making Braille Displays for the last 30-40 years. There has been no change in technology to permit an affordable Refreshable Braille Display.
What I have invented and proposing here, and for which a ‘proof of concept’ prototype has been made,
demonstrates that this new technology is not only feasible, but a viable option. I have made this single line Refreshable Braille Display that is fully functional at the fastest Braille reading speed of a visually impaired person. In other words the refresh rate (in the order of milli seconds) is a practical and low cost alternative to existing technology.
The following videos ‘SLRBD TEST BASIC 1’ demonstrates the following text in Braille.
“Literacy, Illiteracy – with Braille you can feel the difference!”