New Braille Display Project

This project is for the development of multiline and full page Braille display using PVDF polymer technology. Starting from October 1, 2007, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the Department of Education rewarded a three year grant, with 200,000 dollars each year, to support the development of new prototype Braille cell. The official project name is "Micromachined Braille Reader" and project director is Prof. Franzon at NC. State. The new Braille display will be fabricated using modern integrated microelectronic processing technology, which will reduce the cost dramatically. The price of new polymer Braille display can be as low as 1/5 to 1/10 of current commercial Braille display. A patented Bistable Latching and Mechanical Amplification (BLMA( mechanism is invented to make very compact and low power consumption Braille cell, which is the key for fabricating full page display. The key technical criteria including displacement and supporting force of Braille dot as well as response time are far exceed the standard for making commercial Braille display. Especially, the supporting force of Braille dot is much larger than 15 to 30 grams (the current PZT Braille cell) by using the Bistable Latching and Mechanical Amplification Mechanism. The refreshable Braille dot is very firm, which will make reading of Braille text more comfortable and efficient. Furthermore, the new full page Braille display can demonstrate tactile graphic information and tables, which will open more opportunities for visual impaired students in stem study. The study of stem subjects including Physics, Chemistry, Math as well as a variety of engineering courses involves heavily understanding of multiple equations and graphic representation of models and Concepts. The advantage of refreshable full page Braille display is that it can demonstrate graphic

information dynamically. This will provide more layers of information, which will stimulate creative thinking and studying process. The new Braille cell is very compact. Each Braille dot is actuated by a very small actuator with height of 5 mm and width of 1.43 mm by 1.43 mm. The new polymer Braille cell can be used in a variety of devices including calculator, PDA, and real Braille watch, etc. The new polymer Braille cell technology has the potential to revolutionize the Braille display industry. Freedom Scientific Inc. is very interested in commercializing this new Braille display technology. North Carolina State University has very advanced Microelectronic Processing Lab and high quality research team. We hope more and more people will be interested in and support this new Braille display technology and to make it into reality as early as possible. Blind people around the world will benefit from this endeavor.
(Paul Yang, Postdoc researcher from North Carolina state university, May 13, 2008)


Braille Document

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