Nearly 90 percent of America’s blind children are not learning to read and write because they are not being taught Braille or given access to it. Most of the problem with access is the cost of technology to support the learning process. Children are often required to work with mechanical Braille devices that require considerable strength to use. For small children they often have to stand-up and put most of their weight into each stroke. While these devices have changed little since the 1950s they still cost almost $1000USD and only produces Braille on Paper and have no computer interface.
Other devices while easier to use cost $2500USD and more. These devices have only 20-32 view-able characters whereas a typical single line of text consists of 64 characters.
This Project is to create a braille keyboard with incorporated display that can be used with a tablet, cell phone or other portable device like an iPad or iPhone. The device will be small, lightweight and inexpensive. The expected retail cost to be about $350USD
Presently portable braille displays and key boards cost $2,500USD and higher. The market consists of devices that are used stand alone and are called Braille note-takers. These devices use expensive technology or give very poor refresh rate and quality.
This display will utilize a revolutionary design that will not only be quiet but will allow high speed refresh of the braille. The cost is scaled with the number of lines of braille being displayed but up to four lines can be incorporated in a tablet cover. Each Braille line consists of 32 Braille characters with each character having 8 pins. The per Braille line cost will be $60USD.
The display will be just over half an inch in depth or about 14mm. Presently it is configured for a full size iPad or tablet about 12in x9in (240mm x 170mm)
Risks and challenges
The device will have an incorporated battery which has regulatory restrictions on export.
The device will require appropriate approvals due to radio frequency transmissions from Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity.