Have you ever met the blind in your life? At least you have seen them in movies of other media. Have you ever wondered how they read? Do you have any clue of what struggle have they suffered to read?
Braille books and displays are sold for the blind, but they are too expensive -- up to 7,000 USD. We have invented a product 10 times cheaper so that blind people from the developing countries can get access to readable data.
At least you have met some media with strange dots on them. These dots are not spread as they wish. The dots are arranged in such an order that the blind can read it with their fingers. The system is called the Braille system. They are arranged in rectangles of dots 2 by 4. Some are raised and some are suppressed. That is exactly the way letters have been implemented in the form of a Braille alphabet.
You can see in the picture the examples of some letters or just Google ‘braille alphabet’ and you will get beautifully arranged tables of various Braille systems in different languages.
Books for the Blind
There are special books for the blind, where the paper is embossed to get Braille letters. But those are too expensive, hard to produce and little have been printed in the Braille. They are too large and difficult to deliver.
Displays for the Blind
Those dots on the paper could be controlled. There are small motors called piezo-actuators that bend, when the current flows through them. Up to 80 letters may be placed on a singe Braille display with mostly spread 20-letter version. But they are way more expensive than the blind from the developing world could afford. The price might vary from around 1,000 all the way up to 10,000. The major reason the price is so high: piezo-actuators mentioned above, that are rare-earth crystals cumbersome to produce and handle.
Our Team's Solution
We have been working on this project with more or less success and intensity for around 4 years and we came to the conclusion that the best solution for maximum price/quality relation is the combination of sliding mechanism with servo motors. Two motors are sufficient to run the Braille letter and if there is the demand to move larger letter, only three servo-motors do suffice. One servo motor is about 2 dollars and the material spent on construction is miserable comparing to piezo-actuator technology and the Braille display with 20 letters could cost about 300 USD, that is 10 times cheaper than the traditional analogy in the market.