Braille on a Tablet Computer

Signing up for college classes can be intimidating, from tuition, textbook requirements, to finding an engaging professor. Imagine signing up online, but you cannot use your monitor. We wager that roughly ninety-nine percent of the hackers reading this article have it displayed on a tablet, phone, or computer monitor. Conversely, “Only one percent of published books is available in Braille,” according to [Kristina Tsvetanova] who has created a hybrid tablet computer with a Braille display next to a touch-screen tablet running Android. The tablet accepts voice commands for launching apps, a feature baked right into Android. The idea came to her after helping a blind classmate sign up for classes.

Details on the mechanism are not clear, but they are calling it smart liquid, so it may be safe to assume hydraulic valves control the raised dots, which they call “tixels”. A rendering of the tablet can be seen below the break. The ability to create a full page of braille cells suggest they have made the technology pretty compact. We have seen Braille written on PCBs, a refreshable display based on vibrator motors, and a nicely sized Braille keyboard that can fit on the back of a mobile phone.

13 thoughts on “Braille on a Tablet Computer

        1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refreshable_braille_display#Mechanical_details

          Well I went and did some googling and it turns out some do use piezo and levers at least, but that’s probably not the case here. Maybe the fluid takes the place of the lever, whereby a filled channel is tapered to be wider at the piezoelectric actuator and narrower at the elastic surface which raises to become a dot, magnifying the minute distance a peizo moves. Pure speculation on my part.

  1. still fantastic. I read about this around four years ago when it just got the first big press run – the price tag announced back then was VERY attractive. We need MORE people like these.

  2. I wonder if one could have a small finger-sized dot display in a glove, which would change state depending on where the capacitive touchscreen senses the finger. A virtual large screen, “seen” through a small window at a time.

  3. There is a video, “BLITAB: A Tablet for the Blind at CES 2017” that has a (very) brief explanation of how it works (starting at 1:25 and lasting about 15 seconds).

    It apparently uses air and flexible membranes.

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