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Vibrating touchscreens allow Braille reading

08 April, 2009 by Peter Verhoeven

Touchscreen handsets may be the talk of the town, but they are useless to the visually impaired. Software developed by Jussi Rantala and his colleagues at the University of Tampere in Finland attempts to address that by bringing Braille to touch-enabled mobile devices.

The team installed the software on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet with a piezoelectric layer that 'displays' a raised dot on the touchscreen with a single intense vibration and the absence of a dot with a longer and weaker pulse.

Two methods of presenting Braille were devised by the team. The first requires users to swipe their fingers across the screen to read each of the six dots in the 2x3 matrix in Braille.

The second method generates a sequence of six dots, each 360 milliseconds apart, when the user taps and holds on a character. Volunteers who tested the software were more comfortable with this option, although it took some getting used to.

Source: CNET

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