Scientists Create Braille Touchscreen Phone

Finnish scientists have created a vibrating touch screen phone, for the visually challenged, that can simulate Braille characters.

The researchers
used a Nokia 770 mobile Internet tablet which has piezoelectric material built into the touch screen that vibrates when an electric signal is applied to it. Each Braille character or cell is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two columns of three dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the six positions to form sixty-four permutations, including the arrangement in which no dots are raised.

Instead of recreating the raised spots that represents a Braille character, this new system vibrates the screen using the transducers. When a finger is touched to the screen, its position is logged relative to the text character beneath. The Braille is then sent out as a chain of strong - Braille dot - and weak - Braille space - vibrations off the screen.

Currently this is being used for single characters only, but the researchers hope to make it work for entire words and sentences soon.

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