Refreshable Braille Device and Refreshingly Affordable

Period of Performance: 09/03/1993 - 03/02/1994


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Blazie Engineering
Forest Hill, MD 21050
Principal Investigator


Like print, braille is displayed spatially. Consequently, many of the spatial cues that facilitate the reading of print are also available to the reader of braille. The selective reading enabled by these cues is the kind of reading that must be done to make efficient use of the information displayed on the screen of the computer monitor. Refreshable braille devices are now available, and by using them to read the information on the monitor screen, blind computer operators can interact with their computers more efficiently than they do when they must rely upon speech synthesizers for the display of information. Unfortunately, the refreshable braille displays now available are so expensive that all but a few are denied access to them. The research conducted by Blazie Engineering over the last two years strongly supports the possibility of building pneumatically operated refreshable braille devices that are more reliable and significantly less expensive than the refreshable braille devices now available. If the research and development described in this proposal is successful, as it is likely to be, Blazie Engineering will be producing and selling refreshable braille devices shortly after the end of the period for which support is requested.