Thursday, April 1, 2010

Braille Internet Pages for the Blind

Those who are visually-impaired may now be able to surf the Internet just like normal seeing people with a new technology based on the one-liner Braille system used to translate text from the computer into raised Braille dots. Lead inventor Dr. Peichun Yang is perfecting the system at the Carolina State University. He says the while the current one line refreshable Braille device (left) is already useful, improving it and enabling it to display a whole page brings in another world from the Internet to blind people.

Yang, who is blind himself, said the new Braille technology will allow whole pages of from the Internet to be displayed using raised dots to form text and even images. The system is fast and can refresh in just milliseconds. It's able to be so fast because it uses a hydraulic and latching mechanism combined. This is what raises the thousands of dots which serve as the "pixels" of the display. In a way, they create a form of bas relief to represent visual images that can be touched by the visually-impaired.

Each dot (represented above in the graphics) is like a small bag than can shift its shape. Each bag is filled with a liquid. With the application of an electric current, each bag is compressed and the liquid inside is pushed up, creating a bump that "registers" as a pixel or dot. The technology has been used before but it had limitations. The problem that Yang solved involved creating a "latch" for the raised container which kept it in place as the blind reader moves his or her fingers over them and until the pressure needs to be released. The tiny mechanism has a pin that is connected to a support block. The pin keeps the dot raised until the page is refreshed.

Yang hopes to the the technology out for the blind to use soon but it may be best to have materials that will last long enough for the device to be used for a long time until breaking down from too much touching. This is a common problem with polymer-based materials. Yang and colleagues presented the new technology at the International Conference on Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices in San Diego, California.

Get the targeted website traffic you want. Do it like the professionals, get the service that can do the job. Make Cheap Visitors your partner now!

No comments: