The Smart Braille keyboard will replace the old style Braille displays which are noisy, slow and utilize expensive technology like piezoelectrics. These Braille displays often cost $2,500 or more for a single line of 32 characters displayed in Braille. A typical line of text is 64 characters. This means a user of a typical Braille display would need to scroll to view all of the text on a single line. With the Smart Braille keyboard it is possible to display not just a single line of 32 characters but also two lines consisting of 64 characters or even four lines consisting of 128 characters in a single Tablet sized keyboard. The approximate cost to build will be around $350.
The Smart Braille Keyboard will be quiet so a blind student will be able to use it in a classroom environment without disturbing other students. Blind students will be able to view their assignments in real time in a classroom from word files, rich text, or PDF files. Since many schools are already utilizing iPads/tablets with students incorporating the Smart Braille keyboard will not alter the methodology already in place in the schools. Further, the price point will make it a valuable but inexpensive alternative to the other products currently available.
Blind students can receive work sheets and assignments as well as tests at the same time as the rest of the class in formats that the teachers already have. The Smart Braille keyboard will display the text information on the iPad or tablet to the Blind student. The Blind student, utilizing the Braille keys of the Smart Braille keyboard, can then respond via text translation into the iPad or tablet.
The technology will integrate iPhone/iPad/Android devices with a simple inexpensive Braille display and keyboard. The single cell proof of concept showed the mechanical interface was possible.
A prototype eight Braille character display was created next with an Arduino Mega. This showed control of 1000+ output devices was possible from a single SOC. The next prototype will incorporate a BLE SoC and full compliment of 128 Braille cells.
The final design will be 240mm x 170mm by 14mm high.
Being modular it will be possible to add additional rows with minimal impact on design and cost.