Typing in Braille is tricky, requiring clunky and expensive dedicated devices--some costing as much as $6,000--with limited functionality beyond their primary design parameter. But a team of researchers at Stanford, including an undergrad on loan from New Mexico State University, have created a touchscreen interface that brings the ability to write in Braille to tablet PCs.
It's one thing to tell someone how you feel, but seeing is believing. So their inability to see the face and body language of other people can potentially leave visually impaired people working with a communication deficit. A novel thesis project at Umeå University in Sweden has created a sort of Braille codification for emotions using a tactile display and a Web cam to allow blind people to "see" emotion as they are displayed on a subject's face.
courtesy of Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea
Quick, get out your iPhone. Unlock it and slide over to that game you've been playing when your boss isn't looking. Now mute it, put the phone to sleep, close your eyes, and try to do that again. Can you do it? Didn't think so.
There's not a simple way to use touchscreens when you can't see what you're doing, which means 10 million blind and low-vision Americans can't use this ubiquitous technology. But what if you could feel it? What if the "slide to unlock" key was an actual slide? Even better, what if you could have a Braille iPhone?
Led by a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an international group of researchers is hoping the same technology that could provide amputees an artificial arm could help blind people access the wireless world.