My company, Bristol Braille Technology, is developing a radically more affordable refreshable Braille display to enable blind people to read e-books, web sites, and all manner of files from a computer or smartphone, in rapidly updating Braille. We call it the Quixote. It is hoped that this will help spur on a great leap forward in Braille literacy, which is currently in danger of decline.
(Re)launch of new site: Keep an eye of the new Bristol Braille Technology website for updates on the status of the Cell Display. As ever, please do get in contact if you have an interest in the project.
Launch of new site: Keep an eye of the new Pachyderm's Picture BCD website for updates on the status of the Cell Display. As ever, please do get in contact if you have an interest in the project.
The aim of the this project is, unsurprisingly, to produce an inexpensive Braille cell display; ideally one that will retail at or under £300.
According to John Gill, head of the science division of the RNIB,
There is an unmet need for an inexpensive easy-to-use reliable Braille display. And he's right, too. A quick meander around the market reveals the astonishingly high prices blind users are expected to pay in order to be able to read Braille from a computer.
These prices are consequences of the mechanical complexity of current models. While there has been various attempts in the past to upgrade the hardware so it can be produced more cheaply, thus far all attempts have failed to make it past either patent or prototype stage. And for a very simple reason. Technologies explored or sponsored by institutions such as Texas Institute, Stanford Research Institute and IBM include;
The simple reason being that the new technological solutions were not simple, they were in fact more complex than the problem. By contrast, this project intends to use just four electric motors. In a box.