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Rotating-Wheel Braille Display Provides Low-Cost Accessibility to Electronic Books

Published

Author(s)

John W. Roberts, V R. McCrary

Abstract

We have developed a new technology to reduce the cost of Braille-based information accessibility. Millions of blind and visually impaired people in the US (and far higher numbers worldwide) need some form of non-visual access to information. The widespread use of Braille displays has been limited primarily by cost and reliability issues. The primary cost and reliability factor is the large number of electromechanical actuators. Each 6/8-dot Braille cell requires 6/8 actuators, with hundreds needed for the entire display. Small displays (e.g. 8-character) are available, but require the user to move a finger back and forth, raising issues of convenience and repetitive stress injuries. Our approach uses as few as 3 to 4 actuators for the entire display. Our objective in undertaking this project was to find a new approach to Braille display design that would significantly lower cost and improve reliability, and still provide a worthwhile reading experience approaching that of full-line (80-character) displays. Our target was a factor of ten reduction in display cost.After receiving comments from Braille users regarding our first-generation prototype (announced in September 1999), we have developed a second-generation design, with major design changes, and with significant performance and usability improvements.
Citation
Rotating-Wheel Braille Display Provides Low-Cost Accessibility to Electronic Books

Keywords

accessibility, Braille, e-books, electronic books, tactile display

Citation

Roberts, J. and Mccrary, V. (2000), Rotating-Wheel Braille Display Provides Low-Cost Accessibility to Electronic Books, Rotating-Wheel Braille Display Provides Low-Cost Accessibility to Electronic Books (Accessed June 2, 2023)
Created September 5, 2000, Updated February 17, 2017