Researchers at the University of Michigan recently unveiled a new Braille-enabled prototype tablet that makes it possible for those with vision problems to read text on a full display . The tablet itself features fully refreshable pages containing raised bumps, a marked improvement from current devices that can only display one line of Braille text at a time.
Led by professor Dr. Sile O’Modhrain, researchers at the University of Michigan are also planning to add the ability for individuals with vision impairment to ‘read’ graphs, photographs and other non-text items.
“You can’t do much with a single line,” University of Michigan grad student Alexander Rossomanno explained. “It’s hard to read for one, but you also can’t do things like graphs, you can’t do spreadsheets, you can’t do any kind of spatially distributed information.”
What makes the University’s new Braille prototype so exciting, aside from allowing multiple lines of Braille on a single page, is that current Braille devices are incredibly expensive.
According to O’Modhrain, a single line Braille device typically costs between $3,ooo and $5,000, a full-page display can cost upwards of $55,000. By employing different methods to raise the bumps (either air or fluid), O’Modhrain is confident the prototype device will be much more affordable.
You can check out a more in-depth video of how the device operates and how it may be revolutionary below.