Browse Prior Art Database

Compact Electronic Braille Technology

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000049930D
Publication Date: 2005-Feb-09
Document File: 3 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for compact, refreshable Braille displays in handheld electronic devices. Benefits include enabling blind or visually impaired individuals to use handheld devices.

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Compact Electronic Braille Technology

Disclosed is a method for compact, refreshable Braille displays in handheld electronic devices. Benefits include enabling blind or visually impaired individuals to use handheld devices.

Background

With the availability and affordability of audio technology, some institutions are beginning to rely on audio equipment (such as audio books and synthesized speech) to teach blind and visually impaired individuals. However, many institutions, such as the

National

Center

to Improve Practice in Special Educations through Technology, Media and Materials, are concerned that using audio equipment alone fails to promote literacy. Since Braille is the key literary tool for blind and visually impaired individuals, there is a need to develop electronic devices and techniques that incorporate and advance Braille. Currently, there are companies that offer Braille input devices for computers, and “refreshable” displays to review and edit computer input; however, existing “e-Braille” devices are large, clunky and often immobile. To do something as simple as review what was typed into a computer, a peripheral the size of a keyboard may be required. Therefore, this technology must be taken a step further to increase mobility, reduce size, and enhance the usefulness of electronic Braille, permitting blind and visually impaired individuals the opportunity to experience many of the same literary pleasures as sighted individuals. 

Furthermore, this technology could be adopted for “eyes-free” operation; it could be used by the military as a silent and covert means of communication during any time of day.

General Description

The disclosed method uses compact, refreshable Braille displays in handheld electronic devices. The compact electronic Braille (CEB) displays use a series of moveable pins underneath a pliable, yet durable, screen. The pins move in a vertical direction (i.e. raise and lower) to simulate the actual Braille letters, while another component (similar to a conveyor belt or dot matrix printer head) moves the Braille dots, or pins, from right to left to simulate the gliding of a finger over the letters. Normally, a Braille reader moves a finger over Braille text. In this case, it is the text that moves allowing the reader’s finger to stay more or less stationary. (See Figures 1 and 2)

This invention consists of the following components:

§         Buttons. To pause, start, stop and/or control the speed and direction of the display

§         Refreshable Braille Display. Comprised of pins, a screen, and mechanical controls

§         Motor. Controls the motion of the pins, the speed, and the vertical and horizonta...