Re: Vision impaired interface

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Fri Oct 31 2003 - 11:28:41 CST

On Friday, October 31, 2003, at 09:41 AM, Edward Cherlin wrote:

> Common Braille keyboards have six keys corresponding to the six
> dots in ordinary Braille.

Over 20 years ago, with support from Peter Maggs, Andrew Appel and
I built a Braille printer for a computer, with ASCII input and
a choice of Grade I or almost Grade II Braille output. One thing
we learned is that Braille is not widely used among the community
of people who could benefit from it. Building the Braille embosser
was basically a matter of building a dot-matrix printer, but with
three heavy solenoids driving the three rows of dots in order to
dimple the heavy paper used for Braille. The thing worked pretty

The fundamental problem is that, while Braille is routinely taught
to those born blind or who lose their sight in childhood, it is
hardly ever taught to those who lose their sight after childhood.

I know of no current vendor of handicapped accessible voting systems
who uses Braille for write-in votes, although several have braille
labels on the push buttons used by that interface.

> There are Braille "displays", too, on one-line or full page pin
> arrays.

These cost an arm and a leg. The problem is, you need a separate
actuator behind each pin of the pin array.

                        Doug Jones
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Received on Fri Oct 31 23:17:06 2003

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