Thursday, January 7, 2010
Squibble Portable Braille Interface: Making Life Easier
With technology taking huge steps forward, things are getting better for the visually impaired too. Science is finding ways and means of making life easier for the blind. There was a device which made use of electrodes based on the tongue to help the blind visualize what was there in front of them. But since Braille is the main interface between the blind and the outside world, it makes sense to devise gadgets based on this language so that the blind can actually communicate skillfully. Keeping this in mind, UK designer Andrew Mitchell has come up with an innovative device which will help the blind resort to SMS text messaging.
Called the Squibble Portable Braille Interface, the device is a text-message machine for the blind. Braille characters are interwoven along with other easily recognizable symbols on a unique grid of tactile dots which will be accessible to the user. People who are gradually losing sight can make good use of this device because of its high contrast coloring of the pad. There are both audio and video feedbacks for the blind which will be very useful in letting them handle their cell phones in any place. It can be connected via Bluetooth and is small enough to fit into the pocket.
There is an external metal chassis which helps to maintain rigidity. 779 ultrasonic motors are used with great intelligence to provide tactile feedback using Braille and other recognizable symbols with success. The caps on each motor are lighted up and the blind get a grip over the device allowing them to read Braille without putting it down on a surface. A silicone cover on the caps illuminates the dots which make up the Braille language. This device is pretty ingenuous and is definitely a product which the visually impaired will look forward to add substance to their lives.
Source: Andrew Mitchel via Yanko Design, Engadget, The Design blog, and Ubergizmo