APR 07, 2020 5:17 PM PDT

Advancing Braille Technology

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Advancing braille communication for the visually impaired has been faced with financial challenges in the past decades. Now, researchers have devised an improved method that can cost less and display refreshable braille from computer screens onto the keyboard.

Learn more about earlier developments of refreshable braille technology:

"With more development, we think this new material's properties could make it possible to create much higher resolution devices, perhaps even those capable of displaying information other than text, such as diagrams or maps," says Julia R. Greer, Ph.D., the project's principal investigator.

Current displays of braille rely on the piezoelectric effect—tiny crystals that enlarge upon electrical charges. The particular method can create 80 characters at a time.

Learn more about the piezoelectric effect:

Scientists have thought to turn their heads way and forward to another method known as polyionic electroactive polymers (EAPs) which can display more information than current methods.

"Braille technology hasn't changed much since the 1980s," notes Ron Learsch. "I think it would be remarkable to allow everyone to benefit from the revolution in miniaturization and computation that has occurred."

Polyionic EAPs are a great choice because not only are they inexpensive but can work efficiently, with resiliency and only need little voltage. "There is a lot of research to be done to get us from where we are now to these types of products, but that is all part of our long-term vision," Learsch says.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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