Multi-Line Refreshable Braille Display

Period of Performance: 08/01/2010 - 07/31/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tactile Display Corporation
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The project proposed by Tactile Display Corporation (TDC) supports the NIH/NEI mission to develop devices to aid the blind. A blind student has 2 hurdles to overcome when reading with today's refreshable braille display (RBD): the inability to read more than one line at a time because these devices only display a single line of text, and, the inability to read school materials because until recently there's been no way to get books into the proper file format for RBD display. TDC's project has 2 long-term objectives that will overcome these hurdles: (1) development of a multi-line refreshable braille display (MRBD) able to display properly formatted text, charts and tables, and, (2) development of software to convert textbooks and display them on an MRBD. The specific aims to achieve objective (1) are to complete the development of the components for TDC's braille display module (BDM). The BDM will be the basic building-block for an MRBD. The project's research design includes creation of 3D computer models for all MRBD components, production of prototype parts using Computer Numeric Control (CNC) technology, manufacture of engineering prototypes, and reviews by focus groups. On July 19, 2006 the U. S. Department of Education adopted a National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) for schoolbooks. To achieve objective (2), TDC has formed an alliance with Computer Application Specialties Company (CASC) to jointly develop NIMAS conversion and display software for an MRBD. With this software, an MRBD will provide blind students access to properly formatted NIMAS textbooks in braille in all subjects. Realization of these objectives will offer blind Americans several benefits: affordable MRBD devices ($1.00 per braille dot instead of $18.75), access to tabulated materials, full-page braille book readers and most importantly, parity with sighted peers.