MEMS Valves for Tactile Braille Text &Graphical Display

Period of Performance: 04/10/2006 - 02/28/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orbital Research, Inc.
4415 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall goal of the proposed SBIR program is to create a low-cost, large area refreshable Braille display with the combined capability of displaying tactile Braille text and graphical information. Existing methods of accessing electronic information available to blind individuals are incapable of meeting the challenges of the information age. Orbital Research Inc. is developing a technology that can meet the demanding requirements of a Braille/graphical display system. To achieve this ambitious goal, Orbital Research will build upon its successful foundation of low-cost, low-power MicroElectroMechanical System (MEMS) microvalve technology. To demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed device, Orbital Research will complete the follow tasks: 1) Develop the operational parameters of such a device. 2) Develop the core technology of MEMS microvalve arrays and tactile surfaces to meet the operation parameters. 3) Integration of this core technology into a prototype Braille/graphical display. 4) Orbital Research Inc., with the aid of potential users, will test this prototype display for user acceptability as well as functional consistency and longevity. These final tests will show product feasibility as well as indicate areas that will need additional attention. With this information Orbital Research Inc. will take the technology to Phase II where final product development will be completed and preparation for production will begin. This new product will enable large affordable Braille/graphical displays to help blind users interact in the information age.