TacRead is a new low-cost technology for refreshable display of braille. People with blindness perceive braille alphabets formed by raised dots on TacRead as those embossed on paper. Affordable display of digital text in braille gives them access to diverse textual media and opens doors for development of various products that shall strongly empower them in fields of education, employment and quality-of-life. Braille tutor systems, deaf-blind communication devices and tactile math displays are some examples of products thus derived that entail mainstream integration in these fields. Free from the demerits of both auditory devices and paper-embossed braille and at a price point below one-tenth of that of commercially available displays, TacRead has been developed to be equally applicable and available to users in both developed and developing countries.
- Paper-embossed braille, being bulky, expensive and short-lived, has limitations which are usually countered by use of digital media like computers.
- People with blindness are unable to access digital media via touch due to lack of affordable braille displays.
- Educational and occupational practices are limited due to current dependency on audio and speech-based devices.
- TacRead is an affordable braille display device which can be used as displays in computers, and also in new electronic assistive devices.
- A novel actuation technology helps reduce TacRead’s price to below 1/10th of that of existing devices.
- TacRead is competent on user-defined specifications, and is thus equally applicable for users in developed and developing countries.
- Based on prior user testing and feedback, improved TacRead braille display modules have been developed, prototyped and tested.
- Efforts for fabrication of displays for large-scale user trials are in progress.
- DAISY Consortium’s Transforming Braille Project has evaluated TacRead and has been identified as a potential solution to the low-cost Braille display challenge. It is to be considered in upcoming phase of the project.